Green Card documents

How to Get a Green Card

The United States has one of the world’s largest economies, with diverse industries creating unique job opportunities. It is also home to prestigious universities and colleges offering top-quality education and research opportunities. Although Canada is a prosperous and welcoming nation, you may be tempted to cross the border and start anew in America.

Perhaps you received a job opportunity that could advance your career in a specialized field, or you’d like to establish or expand your business in the US. Or, maybe you’d like to study or research at a university or join a family member. Whatever your motivation, there are several ways to obtain a green card. 

Eligibility Requirements

Before applying for a green card, consult an immigration lawyer to determine your eligibility category. The path to obtaining a green card is unique, depending on your situation. You could get one through family sponsorship, employment-based sponsorship, diversity visa lottery or certain special immigrant categories. Each category has its own criteria and requirements; an immigration lawyer can identify the best option for you. Let’s look at some visa categories that can pave the way toward a green card.

Family-Based Visas

If you have immediate family – such as a spouse, parents or unmarried children under 21 – who are US citizens or green card holders, you can apply for an Immediate Relative (IR) visa. 

If you have siblings who are US citizens or green card holders, they may be able to sponsor you by applying for a Family Preference visa. However, these are limited and may involve a longer wait. 

Employment-Based Visas

Canadian citizens with specific skills, talents or job offers from American employers may be eligible for employment-based visas and eventually transition to a green card. This process usually involves the employer obtaining a labour certification from the U.S. Department of Labor and filing an immigrant petition (Form I-140) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf. Some visa types are:

  • The H-1B visa, designed for Canadian professionals with specialized knowledge or expertise in their field. 
  • The L-1 visa, suitable for Canadian employees of multinational companies wishing to transfer to their US branch. This visa is available to executives, managers and employees with specialized knowledge.
  • The O visa, reserved for Canadian citizens with extraordinary abilities in fields like arts, sciences, education, business or athletics.

Investment Visas

The EB-5 investor visa is an option for Canadian citizens willing to invest substantial capital (generally $1 million or $500,000 in targeted employment areas) in a qualifying American business. If the investment creates jobs for US workers, you may be eligible for a green card.

Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery

The Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery program allows nationals of countries with low rates of immigration to the US to apply for a green card through a random selection process. A limited number of DVs are available annually, and winners are selected through a computer-generated lottery system. If you win a DV, you can proceed with the green card application process.

What Is the Application Process?

Once you’ve determined your eligibility, you and your immigration lawyer must ensure you meet the requirements and submit the appropriate documentation. If you are already in the US, you can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. If you are outside the country, you must go through consular processing and file Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application.

Once your application is received, you may be required to attend a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photographs and a signature. The USCIS will schedule an interview to assess your application’s validity. If approved, you’ll receive your visa and be on the path to getting your green card.

Your Immigration Lawyer in Ottawa

Silver Immigration’s experienced and dedicated team can help you get your green card. We provide personalized service and carefully review your application, ensuring all requirements are met. 

Call 1 (888) 799-4769 or complete our contact form for a free consultation with our Ottawa immigration lawyer.