Obtaining Permanent Residency in the United States: A Complete Guide for 2024

The United States of America has long been considered as a symbol of optimism and opportunity for people all across the world. For many people, obtaining a green card, or permanent residency in the United States, is a dream. It involves more personal fulfilment, better economic possibilities, and the opportunity to contribute to the country’s rich cultural fabric.

Even though the immigration process can be tough and confusing, understanding the many paths to permanent residency and adhering to the application requirements can considerably increase your chances of success. This comprehensive guide will provide you with the knowledge and insight you need to begin the application process for a green card in 2024.

Eligibility requirements for permanent residency

Understanding the core eligibility requirements for permanent residency in the United States is essential before looking into the numerous choices.

  • Candidates must be 18 years or older.
  • Admissibility: Applicants must be able to travel to and remain in the United States, and they cannot be denied due to prior immigration violations, criminal histories, or medical issues.
  • Typically, candidates ask a family member or company to act as a sponsor and submit a petition on their behalf.

How to Obtain Permanent Residency

There are several options for obtaining permanent status in the United States. Each path includes specific prerequisites, application deadlines, and certifications.

1. Family-sponsored immigration: This is the most prevalent path to permanent residence. Close relatives who can sponsor family members include spouses, parents, siblings, unmarried children under the age of 21, and permanent residents of the United States.

2. Employment-Based Immigration: This immigration path allows persons to get permanent residency if they have specialised training or work experience. Employment-based immigration is divided into four categories: religious workers (EB-4), advanced degree holders (EB-1 or exceptional ability), skilled workers (EB-3), and exceptional ability (EB-2).

3. Diversity Visa Lottery: Also known as the Green Card Lottery, the Diversity Visa Lottery is a program that gives permanent residency to citizens of countries with low rates of immigration to the United States based on a random selection.

4. Investor Visa: The EB-5 Investor Visa program aims to attract international investors who give considerable sums of money to US-based businesses.

5. Humanitarian Programs: Applicants seeking asylum or refugee status might do so if they want to live abroad permanently but are afraid of violence or persecution at home.

How to Apply for Permanent Residency

Regardless of the option chosen, the general steps for obtaining permanent residency normally proceed as follows:

1. Petition Filing: On behalf of the applicant, the sponsor or employer files a petition with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

2. Application Submission: The candidate completes a detailed application, attaches the necessary files, and pays the required fees.

3. Background investigation: To ensure an applicant’s identity, admissibility, and eligibility, USCIS conducts a thorough background check.

4. Medical Examination: To ensure that the applicant meets the health requirements for immigration, they must undertake a medical examination.

5. Interview: In order for a USCIS officer to evaluate an applicant’s application and answer any questions, the applicant may be asked to attend an interview.

6. Decision: After reviewing the application, USCIS determines whether to grant or deny the green card.

7. Green Card Issuance: After being approved and receiving a green card, the applicant is allowed permanent residency in the United States.

Additional things to consider

1. Legal aid: Immigration law is a complex subject, and the application process is no exception. Having the counsel and support of an experienced immigration attorney can be quite helpful throughout the process.

2. Processing times: The processing times for green card applications vary depending on the applicant’s country of origin, the application process, and the volume of work currently being handled by USCIS. It is best to be patient and understand that the procedure could take several months or even years.

3. Maintaining Status: Once granted permanent residency, a person must stay physically present in the country and comply with all immigration laws.


Obtaining permanent residency in the United States is a significant undertaking that involves careful planning, preparation, and adherence to immigration rules. By understanding the qualifying requirements, investigating your options, and completing the necessary steps, you may increase your chances of realising your ambition of living and working in the United States.

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