How to Become a Permanent Resident

Becoming a lawful permanent resident in the United States is a goal for millions worldwide. An estimated 45 million immigrants lived in the US in 2021 alone, with over 780,000 of these individuals gaining a permanent resident card. The process takes time and patience, but it’s worthwhile to pursue becoming a permanent resident and living the American Dream.

The challenging part is learning where to start on your journey to becoming a US permanent resident and understanding the difference between citizen vs. permanent resident. Knowing the proper steps and options for permanent residency will put you on the path to building a life in the US.

Fortunately, you’ve discovered this illuminating guide to help you take the right course to become a permanent resident and receive your green card. Continue reading to move closer to getting permanent residency today!


Marriage is one of the surest ways to gain a permanent resident card in the US and abroad. The marriage must be genuine to qualify for US residency. You must be sponsored by a lawful US citizen or resident over 21 to gain residency through marriage.

The two types of family-based visas for immigrants are immediate relatives and family preference visas. Immediate relative visas are based on a strong relationship with a lawful US citizen. These relationships are often between a spouse, child, or parent.

There’s no limit to the number of immigrants who can gain lawful permanent residence through an immediate family visa. Expect the process to take close to a year to conclude.

Family preference visas are geared toward distant family members. There’s a limit to family preference visas in a fiscal year, and the process takes much longer to receive a permanent residence card. Expect to wait years to enjoy the benefits of a green card through family preference.


Another option you can use to become a permanent resident is investment. You can use the EB-5 investment program to gain permanent residency in the US, though you’ll need to invest the handsome sum of $500,000 or more and create at least ten jobs to qualify.

It’s a temporary way to become a lawful permanent resident in the US, though it often closes by the end of the fiscal year. Expect the money investment amount to increase with time. The previous investment requirement was $900,000, so now is the time to capitalize on the opportunity to gain permanent residency.

Transfer In

You can also become a permanent resident through work if your employer transfers you to a US-based office. If you’re a vice president at Sony and you receive a promotion to run an office in Seattle, becoming a legal permanent resident in the United States is possible.

An inter-corporate transfer is an excellent path toward getting a permanent resident card. You must work in a management or executive position to qualify for a green card through a transfer.

Your employer must also have at least one year of business history in the US. There’s no labor certification required to get a green card by transferring to a US-based office. It’s one of the quickest ways to become a permanent resident and start the path toward citizenship.

Study Abroad

Studying abroad in the US is another effective way to become a permanent resident. Student visas allow you to learn your chosen field at a university in the United States if you’re pursuing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Completing your degree program makes you eligible for the Optional Practical Training visa, a one-year program.

After a year passes at your post-grad job, your boss can apply for a visa to allow you to stay in the US permanently. You’ll need a labor certification from the Department of Labor to make your dream of permanent residency come true. This certificate proves that no US citizens are ready and willing to take your position.

Next, you’ll apply for your green card through the Department of Homeland Security. Getting permanent residency is a long road, but staying the course pays dividends. It’s often the best option for many people hoping to gain a permanent residency card in the US.

Work for Permanent Residency

The HB-1 visa is perfect for anyone seeking permanent residency in the US through work opportunities. Like the Optional Practical Training visa path, you’ll need a labor certification to qualify for a green card. It’s best to perform a specialty occupation to qualify for the HB-1 visa.

The EB-2 visa option for working in the US is also worth considering. You can sponsor yourself and don’t require proof of a job offer to move the process forward. You’ll need to prove that you have an advanced degree and meet the criteria of the national interest waiver.

Get in Through Achievements

Becoming a permanent resident is also possible through your achievements. Several celebrities have gained US residency and citizenship through sports, music, and entertainment achievements. Look no further than hip-hop artist Drake, who received a green card based on his achievements in the music industry.

Win Your Permanent Residency Card

Your home country may sponsor a permanent residency lottery. You can apply to become a permanent resident in the United States through the Diversity Green Card Lottery. Each year, 55,000 applicants get approved for this visa and become lawful permanent residents in the US.

If your country is under-represented in the US, you can get a green card with some luck and determination. It’s one of the most exciting ways to become a permanent resident.

Become a Permanent Resident in the US Today

Taking the proper steps to fulfill your dream of becoming a permanent resident in the US is monumental for your future and your family. You can become a permanent resident through marriage, work transfers, achievements, and education. Becoming a lawful permanent resident through the Diversity Green Card Lottery is also possible if your home country qualifies.

Are you ready to make the American Dream a reality? Explore more of our blog content for eye-opening career and educational articles you’ll love!

Last Updated on May 13, 2023

Usama BIN Safdar
Meet Usama Bin Safdar, a wordsmith hailing from Faisalabad, Pakistan. With over 5 years of experience under his belt, he's a master at weaving words to create content that's not only informative but also engaging. He's a deep-diver when it comes to SEO, and as the Founder of SoftwareBench, he helps businesses and individuals navigate the digital landscape with ease. Follow Usama for a journey into the world of SEO and digital marketing, where every word is crafted with precision and passion.

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