What is the quickest way to obtain US citizenship?

A green card is a strong visa that grants lawful permanent residency. Lawful permanent residents can live anywhere in the United States, but only those with qualifying green cards will be eligible for citizenship in the future.

Acquiring a green card is a notoriously difficult process, but some methods are traditionally faster than others. It is critical to understand that these visas cannot be obtained immediately or instantly: Even the most efficient options will take at least a few months. Faster timelines also assume that all immigration paperwork is properly completed and that your case is not complicated. We'll go over some of the quickest ways to get a green card in the section below.

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Sponsorship by a Family Member If You Are a "Immediate Relative:

Certain types of relatives can be sponsored for green cards by both current US citizens and lawful permanent residents. A sponsored family member is classified as a "immediate relative" or a "family preference relative."

If you are the spouse, parent, or unmarried child (under the age of 21) of a U.S. citizen, you are considered an immediate relative. Citizens are the only ones who can sponsor their immediate relatives. Citizens may also sponsor married children, children over the age of 21, and siblings; however, these family members will be considered family preference relatives. Only lawful permanent residents can sponsor their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, who are also considered family preference relatives.

If You Have "Extraordinary Ability," You May Qualify for an EB-1A Visa.

Applicants for most types of employment-based immigration must already have a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer. Before beginning the sponsorship process, employers must typically obtain a labour certification. Furthermore, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) limits the number of visas issued each year across several preference categories.

The USCIS prioritises EB-1A visa applications. There are also fewer qualified applicants than visas available, so there is no additional wait time if your petition is approved. In many cases, applications are processed in less than eight months. You may be able to get a decision even faster if you pay for premium processing.

If You Qualify for a National Interest Waiver, You Can Apply for an EB-2 Visa.

If you want to obtain a green card quickly through employment but do not have a permanent job offer, there may be another option. Individuals who otherwise qualify for the EB-2 preference category may apply for a national interest waiver, which, if granted, allows them to obtain a visa without a job offer.

To be eligible for the EB-2 green card category, you must have "exceptional" ability in your chosen field, an advanced degree (such as a Master's degree or foreign equivalent), or a bachelor's degree with at least 5 years of relevant work experience. To be eligible for a national interest waiver, you must demonstrate that the work you intend to do in the US is of "substantial merit" and "national importance." You must also demonstrate that you are qualified to perform the work you propose to do.

Asylum-Based Green Cards

If you have been persecuted or fear future persecution in your home country because of your race, religion, nationality, political beliefs, or membership in a particular social group, you may seek asylum in the United States. Asylees are allowed to stay in the United States indefinitely and can apply for green cards one year after receiving their status. Typically, the USCIS processes asylee requests for green cards within 14 months.

About This Author

Philip Diack is Founder and Managing Director of Passports and Visas.com, a national passport and travel visa service with offices in Atlanta, Miami, Washington, DC, NYC, Denver and San Francisco.

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