Now that we’ve seen Non-immigrant Visas, time for the Green Card ones.
Again, all that you see here is from my own research. I am not an immigration lawyer, so if you’re seriously considering any of these options do your own research, don’t hold my word for it! That said, I’m not going to start inventing facts as I’m in the same situation anyway.
B) Green Cards
Probably the goal for everyone wanting to live in the U.S., Green Cards are next to impossible to obtain without U.S. relatives, really strong jobs or lots of luck.
All the green cards basically entitle you to unlimited stay in the U.S. as well as the ability to work there.
There are 3 main categories of Green Cards:
- Green Card Lottery AKA Diversity Visa Program
I will not talk about the family/marriage one because I’m pretty sure that if you had an American mother or wife you wouldn’t be here right now.
Now let’s get down to business with the Employment Green Cards (or Visa).
This category can be broke down in 5 visa types (from E1 to E5), although only the first 2 really apply to us.
Employment Visas are given based on the “preference”, that is the number next to the E. The lower it is, the better chance you have of getting it (as long as your file is very strong).
Employment First Preference (E1):
Basically an O1 visa but with stricter conditions.
E1 Visas are for “priority workers” only, that means “persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics”.
You must indeed have a strong (read national or international) carreer, and acclaim, behind you before trying to apply for an E1 Visa.
The good news is that this is basically the only work visa that you can file on your own: you do not need to have a job offer in the U.S. before you apply.
Employment Second Preference (E2)
You need to be a “person with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business”. Notice the difference between an E1 Visa where you had to be “extraordinary”.
This time around though you need an employer to file a petition on your behalf: you need a job offer before applying.
There is one exception though: National Interest Waiver. To obtain this waiver, you must prove that the exemption would be of the national interest. This little site is quite helpful listing all the different proofs you need and how to obtain them.
Now time for the Diversity Visa Program.
I will probably go over this one in more details around October (the time when the DV-2010 Lottery opens).
Basically between October and December the lottery opens and you fill out a form to apply for the lottery (free).
Hundreds of countries are allowed in, while others are not.
That means millions of forms, and a very slim chance for you, as basically 50 000 Diversity Visas are awarded each year.
As always, if you have questions please feel free to email me or post a comment.