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Get a Green Card: Know if you're eligible

You want to stay in the United States and work. You know that there are opportunities for you, your family and your friends. Being able to work here is like a gift. With the right opportunities, everyone in your social circle benefits.

Getting a Green Card is one of the first things you need to do, but you have to be eligible for it. Your Green Card will give you official immigration status in the U.S., minus the risk of deportation without just cause. You'll be entitled to many of the same rights and responsibilities of the people born in the U.S. Additionally, a Green Card is a necessity if you plan to naturalize in the future and become a U.S. citizen.

How do you know if you're eligible for a Green Card?

There are several categories under which you may be eligible for a Green Card. You can get a Green Card through family living in the U.S., as a crime victim, through employment or because of refugee or asylee status. There are also Green Cards given for victims of abuse, through a registry and other categories. You can reach out to your attorney to determine if you fall under one or multiple categories and have a right to apply for a Green Card in the U.S.

What if you don't qualify for a Green Card based on the above category listings?

Even if you don't qualify under the listings above, there is another program, the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program, that may help you get to the United States. Through this lottery program, 50,000 immigrant visas can be issued each year. This allows people in countries with a low rate of immigration the opportunity to apply for a drawing from a random pool of applicants. If chosen, they will potentially obtain a Green Card. It's essential that applicants have graduated from high school or have work experience that qualifies them for the visa.

If you're interested in entering the lottery, keep in mind that it is held only once a year, usually in the fall, for around 4 to 5 weeks. Results are posted the following spring, and applicants who obtain a visa can then enter the United States the following year.

Your attorney can guide you through this process if you are successful in obtaining a visa through the lottery program hosted by the U.S. government.

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