How to Get Green Card & Settle in USA? Easiest Ways Explained

The land of hopes and dreams continues to occupy our imagination and capture our fancies. Many would love to realise their vision of living in the USA. For non-citizens of the USA, becoming a citizen is a one-way street to living and working in the country without the constant anxiety of having to leave one day. Citizenship puts you on an equal footing with other legal residents of the country and guarantees you equal rights and responsibilities as them. But as is often the case, the destination is clear, but the way to get there isn’t always straightforward. 

Don’t worry. We are here to show you the way! Learn what a Green Card is, the eligibility criteria, how to get it, and the easiest ways to settle in the USA. 

What is a Green Card?

Have you been wondering how to go USA from India and have the rights and responsibilities available to its citizens? Do you want to settle and work in the country for good and become part of a multicultural immigrant country? 

Well, what you then need is a Green Card. The Permanent Resident Card, or Green Card as it is popularly known, is an identity document that allows individuals to live and work in the US. Green Card holders are officially called lawful permanent residents or LPRs as they have permanent residency that gives them an official immigrant status in the country. The entire process of application and card issuance is generally undertaken by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), though the U.S. Department of State also plays a role. The document has a validity of 10 years. 

Before you can start applying for your Green Card, there are two critical aspects to determine:

  1. Check whether you are eligible for a Green Card.
  2. Which process to follow depending on where you are:
  • Adjustment of status- For individuals living in the United States.
  • Consular processing- For individuals living outside the United States.

Let’s first look at the eligibility criteria to get a Green Card. 

Green Card Eligibility in USA for Indian Citizens

There are eight categories under which one can apply for a Green Card. Take a look at the Green Card Eligibility in USA for Indians:

1. Green card through family: You will be eligible under this category if you are:

  • An immediate relative of a U.S. citizen
  • Fall under any other family-based preference categories of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or the fiancé(e)’s child
  • Widow(er) of a U.S. citizen
  • Abused child, parent, or spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident

2. Green card through employment: Certain individuals can apply for their Permanent Residents Card by virtue of their profession or employment status.

  • Immigrant worker
  • Physicians under National Interest Waiver
  • Immigrant investor

3. Green card for special immigrants: Immigrants belonging to a few special categories can apply for a Green Card under this category.

  • Religious worker
  • Special immigrant juvenile
  • Afghan or Iraqi national
  • International broadcaster
  • An employee of an international organisation or family member or NATO-6 employee or family member

4. Green card through asylee or refugee status.

5. Green card for human trafficking or crime victims.

6. Green card for victims of abuse.

7. Green cards through other categories, like

  • Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF)
  • Diversity Immigrant Visa Program
  • Cuban Adjustment Act
  • Lautenberg parolee
  • Dependent status under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA). 

8. Green card through the registry: An applicant is eligible if they have lived in the U.S. continuously since before 1 January 1972.         

Process and Procedures of Green Card Application

Now that you can identify the category under which you can apply for your Green Card, what do you do next? While specific Green Card categories have distinct steps and procedures, the USCIS has outlined specific general steps you can follow.

  1. The first step is concurrent filing, wherein if you are applying for a Green Card under employment, family, or special immigrant categories, someone has to file an immigrant petition for you. In some cases, you may even be able to file the petition yourself.
  2. Once the USCIS approves the immigrant petition and determines the visa availability category under which your application falls, you either file a Green Card application with the USCIS or put in a visa application with the U.S. Department of State. 
  3. The next step requires you to provide your biometric information at the assigned centre, including your fingerprints, photo, and signature.
  4. You have to attend an interview at the assigned centre.
  5. Finally, you will hear a decision on your application.

3 Easy Ways to get your Green Card

Immigration to USA from India has steadily risen over the years. With a large population and a cap on the number of Green Cards assigned per country, there is a tremendous backlog for Indian citizens waiting their turn. The wait can last up to 20 years for some unfortunate applicants. Nevertheless, there is hope! 

This article discusses the easiest ways to smoothen the hurdles as you figure out how to go to America from India and get your Green Card approval. 

1. Family-sponsored Green Card

The easiest and often the fastest way to get your Green Card approval is to apply under the family-sponsored category. If you have a relative over 21 years of age who is a U.S. citizen or is a lawful permanent resident, you will have an easier time getting your Green Card. Here, too, two categories of relatives can sponsor you.

  • Immediate relatives: If you are the next of kin of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you are immediately eligible for an immigrant visa. The relations in this category include spouse, unmarried child or step-child under the age of 21 years, and adopted child under 18 years. The relatives covered under this category for U.S. citizens include parents, married children, and siblings. This category generally has the shortest wait time, and there are no limits to the number of applications granted in a fiscal year. 
  • Family preference: Listed under the Visa Bulletin, this category includes individuals with more specific but distant relations with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. The relations in this category are mentioned in the Visa Bulletin list and have a long waiting period- even decades. The number of applications approved under this category is limited for every fiscal year. 

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2. Employment-based Green Card

Another way to get your Green Card in the U.S. sponsored is through your employer. You should be able to establish yourself as a highly skilled professional or worker and undergo an extensive documentation and vetting process to get your Green Card under this category. The applicant’s educational qualifications, job skills, and work experience take priority under this category barring the fourth and fifth categories. 

Let’s look at the different categories:

  • Employment First Preference (EB-1)- Individuals, considered ‘Priority Workers”, who have made extraordinary contributions to their field fall within this category. 
  • Employment Second Preference (EB- 2)- Individuals with exceptional ability, seeking a national interest waiver, or professionals with advanced degrees can apply in this category.
  • Employment Third Preference (EB- 3)- Skilled workers with a minimum of 2 years of work experience or training, a Bachelor’s degree in a specialised field, or an unskilled worker with 2 years of training or work experience fall into this category. 
  • Employment Fourth Preference (EB- 4)- Special immigrant workers, like religious workers, can apply for a visa under this category.
  • Employment Fifth Preference (EB- 5)- Immigrants who can make an investment that leads to job creation in the U.S. These applicants should be able to create jobs for at least 10 citizens of the country or lawful permanent residents on a full-time basis. 

3. Diversity Visa Immigration

You can try your luck through the Diversity Visa Immigration (DV) “lottery” to get your Green Card. Every year the U.S. holds a lottery that makes 55,000 selected to immigrate to the country from under-represented countries. Conducted by the U.S. Department of State, applying under this program will get you an immigrant visa if you meet the minimum requirements. 

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Immigration to USA from India is a testament to the desire among the population to explore opportunities in the country. As a world leader, the U.S. has always been an attractive destination for immigrants. In this article, we have outlined the best and easiest ways how to go to America from India. Doing your research well on Green Card eligibility in USA for Indian citizens will help you immensely in finding your way and making the process uncomplicated. The country of opportunities, diversity, and dreams can be within your reach soon!

What is the average cost of living in the USA?

The average cost of living in the USA per person is $2112 per month, which is higher than the world average.

What are the best states to live in the USA?

The best states to live in the USA are Washington, New Hampshire, Colorado, Massachusetts, Utah, Minnesota, Vermont, Texas, North Carolina, and Iowa.

Which states have the largest immigrant population in the USA?

The states with the largest immigrant population in the USA are California, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Nevada, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Texas, Maryland, and Washington.

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