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The Green Card Rush Has Started

The U.S. Government has issued 65,000 green cards this year for the purpose of allowing people of foreign birth to live and work in the United States.

But what is a green card? How does it work and what is the application process? A green card is usually issued to people who are normally permanently resident in the United States and who wish to become a US citizen. After five years that person is usually eligible to apply for citizenship and naturalization. In practice there are two broad ways of getting a green card.

These are through employment in the United States and through their immediate family. The correct term for the former type of green card is the H1B Work Visa. This is issued by the U.S. Government and allows foreign professionals from all over the world the opportunity to live and work in the United States. As one Fortune 500 company recently told our H1B Research Group, "International job seekers who do not take action now, will miss this narrowing opportunity to work in the US.

It is crucial to find an H1B Job within the next few months, to even stand a chance of being counted towards the quota." These are common feelings and sentiments from many of the H1B sponsor companies. Many of the top US sponsor companies who were shut out in the cold, due to this year's H1B Cap being reached very early, are doing everything in their power to ensure they get their fair share of new H1B visa employees as fast as possible. People wishing to work in the USA will: 1. Need to find a job within a company who will 'sponsor' and H1B visa for the employee.

2. Ensure the new employer (known as the sponsor company) then files the H1B application on behalf of the employee. 3. Wait until the visa application is approved by the US Immigration Bureau. Two special categories involving work are Labor and National Interest.

In the case of Labor, an applicant may obtain a green card who shows the ability and willingness to perform a specific job in a specifically assigned region, according to a specific set of skills. Employer sponsorship may be waived in the case of an applicant who can demonstrate that he or she has professional skills to be of national interest to the United States. In extraordinary cases, if individuals can demonstrate skills or knowledge that are so specialized that they put them at the top of their field, those individuals can usually be granted a green card without the usual official procedures on the grounds of justified exemption. A similar arrangement would exist for academics and researchers who are recognised internationally as being at the top of their field. In the case of applications for a green card because of family connections, it must be through an immediate family relationship.

A person may apply for a green card if a child, parent or sibling is already an American Citizen. If the parent of a child (who is a minor) is already an American citizen then the child is automatically eligible for a green card. Also within the broad category of family relationships falls marriage to an existing American citizen.

The American citizen must also reside in the United States and there must be sufficient proof to show that the marriage is legitimate. However, in the case of the former example, through a sponsor employer, the limit this year is 65,000 applicants. Those who believe they are eligible should seek advice right away. .

Gordon Goodfellow is an Internet researcher and technologist who lives and works in London, UK. Graham has several sites on the subject of US citizenship

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