16 ways to obtain a Green Card to the United States, 2023


In this brief guide, you are going to learn 16 ways to obtain a green card to the United States in 2022, without having a family member or a U.S employer.

The green card, also known as the Permanent Resident Card, allows foreign nationals to live and work permanently in the United States.

16 ways to obtain a green card to the United States

  • Family Based Green Card

You may be eligible to apply under this category if you are the immediate relative of a U.S citizen or lawful permanent resident or family member of a U.S citizen or lawful permanent resident, and widow or widower of a U.S citizen.

  • Employment Based Green Card

This category is broken down into five subcategories, ranked from employment based category one, known as EB1, to employment based category five, known as EB5.

Most of these categories require a U.S employer to first file a petition on your behalf. Get more about the different subcategories HERE.

  • Special Immigration Green Card

Special immigrants include members of religious denominations coming to the U.S to work for nonprofit organizations, members of the armed forces, and some nationals of Afghanistan and Iraq who were employed by the U.S government.

  • Refugee or Asylum Status Green Card

Under U.S immigration law, asylum and refugees may apply for a U.S green card after they’ve been physically present in the U.S for at least one year since they were granted asylum status or refugee status.

  • Green Card for victims of Abuse

As a abused spouse, child, or parent, you may file an immigrant visa petition under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). An abused spouse or child of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, and individuals in the special immigration juvenile status.

  • Green Card through Registry

Certain foreign nationals who have resided continuously in the US honor before January 1 of 1972 may be eligible to register for a green card even if they are currently in the U.S unlawfully.

Up to 50,000 immigrant visas are available annually and randomly awarded to foreign nationals from countries with a lower rate of immigration to the U.S through a lottery based system.

  • Green Card for victims of Human Trafficking and victims of certain Crimes
  • Green Card for Liberian refugees who have been continuously present in the U.S since November 20th, 2014.
  • Green Card for citizens or nationals of Cuba provided under the Cuban Adjustment Act.
  • Green Card to persons born in the U.S to a foreign diplomat.
  • Green Card for an American Indian born in Canada.
  • Green Card for a Lautenberg Parolee who was paroled into the U.S on or before September 30, 2012
  • Green Card for natives or citizens of Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos who were paroled into the US on or before October 1197
  • Green Card for dependent spouses and children of lawful permanent residents who obtain their green cards based on the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act
  • Green Card for a person who entered the U.S as a diplomatic officer or high ranking officer and is unable to return to his or her home country

Regardless of which category you fall under, how you apply as a foreign national for a green card will depend on if you reside inside of the U.S or outside of the U.S.

Individuals residing in the U.S in a legal status go through an application process called an “Adjustment of Status”, in order to obtain their green cards while foreign nationals residing outside of the U.S needs to go through a process called “Consular Processing”, in order to obtain an immigrant visa.

All applications for a U.S visa are handled outside of the U.S by the U.S Department of State while all applications for an adjustment of status are handled inside the U.S by the U.S Department of Homeland Security.

I hope you found this guide very informative.

Thank you for reading this post.

DISCLAIMER: This post and guide is designed for general information only and is NOT legal advice. The information presented in this post should not be construed to be formal legal advice. If you need legal advice, you may contact a licensed attorney.