Permanent Residence (PR) for US: How to a Get Green Card

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A Green Card or Permanent Resident Card refers to a Visa that allows one to work and gain residency in the US. A permanent residency in the US will depend on the nature of your work or your individual situation. This is a step closer to gaining US Citizenship. A student visa is not enough for immigration to the United States. It may seem daunting, but we can help you through your green card application, even from India. We can help you find the appropriate immigration services for every visa category, such as skilled workers, religious workers, and special immigrants. Let’s look at the eligibility criteria and process for getting a PR for the US from your home country.

Green Card Eligibility Categories

Before you learn how to get PR for US, you need to know which category you are eligible for:


  • Immigrant investor
  • Immigrant worker
  • Physician National Interest Waiver

Family members

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Permanent Residence (PR) for US: How to a Get Green Card
  • Immediate relatives of a US citizen
  • Other relatives of American citizens or lawful permanent residents falling under family-based preference categories
  • Widow(er) of a US citizen
  • Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or the fiancé(e)’s child
  • VAWA self-petitioner (victim of cruelty or battery)

Special Immigrant

  • A profession in religious work
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile
  • Foreign national coming as an international broadcaster
  • Employee or family member in an international organisation or employee or family in NATO-6
  • Afghanistan or Iraq national
  • Past Afghan or Iraqi translator or interpreter for the US government
  • Past Iraqi employed by or for the US government in Iraq on or after March 20, 2003, for a minimum of one year
  • Past Afghans employed by the US government or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)

Human Trafficking and Crime Victims

  • Crime victim
  • Human trafficking victim

Refugee or Asylee Status

  • Refugee
  • Asylee

Victims of Abuse

  • A physically abused spouse or child under the Cuban Adjustment Act
  • VAWA self-petitioner– victim of battery or extreme cruelty
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile
  • A physically abused spouse or child under the Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA)

Other Categories

  • Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF)
  • Indochinese Parole Adjustment Act of 2000
  • American Indian born in Canada
  • A person born in the United States to a foreign diplomat
  • Diversity Immigrant Visa Program
  • Cuban Adjustment Act
  • Dependent status under the HRIFA
  • Lautenberg parolee
  • Section 13 (diplomat)

Permanent Residence Prerequisites

To know how to get a PR in USA, you will have to see which one of the above categories you fall into. Once you have a clear idea of your category, there will be a particular procedure.

Meeting the Eligibility Requirements

There are several ways through which US immigration law makes it possible for people looking to become green cardholders. These eligibility requirements depend on the immigrant category you fall under. are applying under. Hence, your first step would be to identify the category you fall into.

Being Sponsored for a Green Card

Most applicants will be required to fill in at least 2 forms: an immigrant petition and a Green Card application (Form I-485). Usually, there needs to be someone to file the petition for you. They are the ones sponsoring or petitioning for you. In some cases, you may file a petition for yourself. Some of the common forms among categories include:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
  • Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition
  • Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal

Other petitions depending on category, include:

  • Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant
  • Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur
  • Form I-918, Petition of U Nonimmigrant Status
  • Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Non-immigrant

When you check your eligibility category, you will know whether you require someone else to petition you or if you can petition yourself.

Suitable Process according to your Location

Your green card process will vary depending on whether you are currently inside or outside the US. If you are inside the US, you must undertake the Adjustment of status with USCIS. If you have an approved immigrant petition and an immigrant visa is available, you must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with USCIS. Suppose you have not received an approved immigrant petition. In that case, you will need to peruse the eligibility requirements for your Green Card category to know whether you can file the petition and Form I‑485 together simultaneously (concurrent filing). If you are outside the US, you must undertake Consular processing with the US Department of State.

General Application Process

While there is a specific application process when applying for a PR in US, there are some common application processes that most applicants go through if they wish to live in the US permanently:

  • Either someone will have to file an immigrant petition for you, or you will have to file a petition for yourself.
  • After approval of your immigrant petition from USCIS and an availability of a visa in your category comes up, you will be required to file a Green Card application with USCIS. Alternatively, you might need to file a visa application with the US Department of State.
  • You must attend a biometrics appointment to provide your personal information, such as fingerprints, photos, and a signature.
  • You will have an interview.
  • You will receive a decision on the submitted application.

Pending Green Card Application with USCIS

Suppose your Form I-485, Adjust Status, or Application to Register Permanent Residence has already been submitted and is pending with USCIS. In that case, you can check your case status on the While Your Green Card Application is Pending with USCIS page. Here, you can update your address and make appointments with USCIS. Some additional documents you might need to submit include the following:

Visa Availability and Priority Dates

Before applying for a green card, a visa should be available for you. Some categories might always have visas available, while others might be limited. Waiting immigrants will be given a priority date to get an immigrant visa.

Travel Documents

Depending on the category you are applying in, you might not be able to travel outside the united states once you apply or receive your Green Card. You may be able to apply for advance parole, a re-entry permit, or Refugee Travel Document.

Employment Authorisation Document

If you are eligible for work authorisation in the United States, you must apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Immigration Medical Examinations

Generally, every applicant will need a medical exam during their application. There are specific forms and procedures you will need to follow for the same.

Affidavit of Support

A sponsor might have to fill in an affidavit of support on your behalf. This form is an important element of the Green Card or immigrant visa process. However, not all categories require this before becoming a permanent resident of the United States. This form is meant to show you can financially support yourself in the United States without requiring US government welfare or financial benefits.

Renew or Replace PR for US

In case of a US Green Card renewal or replacement, one would have to file Form I-90 with the USCIS. Those with a conditional green card can convert it to a 10-year green card. This is called the “removal of conditions on residency.”


The Green Card application process will differ whether you are a foreign national or an immigrant. If you have exceptional ability, it might make you a more likely candidate. You will require patience for your visa numbers and attention to detail while applying for your permanent residence visa. Go through the process systematically, and you will get your green card soon enough.

For more guided information, contact Leap Scholar Counseller here.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long do you have to stay to get PR for US?

To qualify for a green card, you will need to fulfil additional eligibility requirements, such as having physically lived in the United States for a minimum of three years since obtaining a U visa.

2. Can I stay on a Green Card forever?

There are some PR for US that have no expiration date. However, in most cases, they are only valid for 10 years. For those who have received a conditional green card or permanent resident status, the card validity is of 2 years.

3. Does the US still have a Green Card Lottery?

Yes, the DV Lottery or the Green Card Lottery offers a limited number of immigrant visas yearly to people who meet certain eligibility requirements. This means you should be a foreign citizen from a country having low rates of immigration compared to the United States.

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Atima Khurana

Atima has 12+ years of experience in the field of overseas education and she specializes in U.S. admissions.

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