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Here is the easy path to get your green card…if you have not violated any immigration laws, then you need to get a sponsor. We will look at three types of sponsors:

1. First, getting your green card through a sponsoring member of your family who is a United states citizen:

  1. Immediately: if you are the spouse (or widow) or unmarried child under 21 years of age of a US citizen, you can get your green card immediately. Same is true if you are a parent of the US citizen and the citizen is over 21.
  2. For everyone else, there is a waiting period. That waiting period is determined by the Visa Bulletin that the Department of State changes every month. Google: “Visa Bulletin” to keep track of how much longer you may have to wait.
  3. Waiting time for citizen family members:
  • If you are the unmarried son or daughter of a US citizen, there is a 5 year wait, except for Mexican and Filipinos who have a 17 year wait.
  • If you are the married son or daughter of a US citizen, you have to wait 10 years, except for Mexican and Filipinos who have a 18 year wait.
  • If you are a sibling, you can get one too but there is a backlog with a wait time of 10 years and 14 years if you are Mexican.

2. Second, getting your green card through a sponsoring member of your family who is a United states permanent resident:

  • Spouses and children of permanent residents currently have a two year wait, five if they are Mexican. Had you applied in 2010r the wait was only two months. But that changed on January 1st, 2011. it can and will change again but no one can predict when or how.
  • Unmarried sons/daughters over 21 of permanent residents have a seven year wait, Mexicans have a 19 year wait.
  • Married sons/daughters of permanent residents have to wait until their parent becomes a citizen before they can apply and then they have a ten year wait.

3. The third type of sponsor is an employer.

1. The employer must:

  • offer the alien Full-time employment
  • obtain a Labor Certification from the government that no citizen could be found for the job; and
  • have the ability to Pay wages that correspond to that position

2. To get a green card immediately through the EB2 program, the alien must have

  • a Masters degree or Bachelors with 5 years of experience and a job offer for a position that requires the degree the alien holds.
  • OR, be a person of exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business and who is sought by an employer in the United States.
  • OR have worked as a minister for the previous two years abroad and now has a position here with a religious organization.

3. To have an 8 year wait to get the green card through the EB3 program, the alien must have

  • A Bachelors degree or the academic equivalent and a job offer for a position that requires your degree.
  • or, be a skilled worker in a position that requires two years of training or work experience

4. If you have family or friends abroad and you can’t sponsor them, then give them the advice to go back to school and get a university education or masters degree.

Scott McVarish, Lead Attorney at the Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, is available for speaking engagements, interviews, seminars and trainings on this and many other immigration law topics. Providing pro bono (donated) legal services at such community education events are part of this law office’s “Giving Back” to the community philosophy.