Need To Get Your Green Card Fast? Here are the fastest ways.

With the pandemic affecting every part of our society, many people are worried about trying to get their green cards fast as soon as things are back to “normal.”

All the uncertainty in the US means that more people than ever are trying to ensure their residency.

One of the first questions they ask: How Can I Get a Green Card Fast?

What are the fastest ways to get a Green Card in the US?

  1. Marriage – Well, Sure. The Number One Answer on the Board.  It is quick.  As long as it is real.  And there are financial obligations to the government for the citizen applying for the immigrant spouse’s green card. Plus various other conditions. AND IT IS NOW AVAILABLE TO GAY IMMIGRANTS MARRIED TO US CITIZENS TOO.  Green card is typically less than a year away. Just do not try to file papers yourself. Rules and regulations and caselaw change all the time. Get an expert immigration lawyer to guide you, please. We wrote more about gay marriage here.
  2. Asylum – When I started practicing immigration law in the mid-90s, political asylum was granted about 15% of the time.  Today the numbers are around 50% or higher depending on various circumstances.  You have to show well founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a social group.  If you do not file within a year of entry into the United States, you better have a very good reason. But a green card may be available to you, if you have fled a dangerous country because you were afraid of severe mistreatment.  Consult with an immigration attorney who has vast experience in political asylum cases before exploring this option to get a green card.  AND BE CAREFUL OF FOLKS WHO TRY TO TALK YOU INTO ASYLUM APPLICATIONS BECAUSE THIS AREA HAS BEEN EXPLOITED BY MANY UNSCRUPULOUS INDIVIDUALS.
  3. Diversity Visa Lottery – 50,000 people, more or less, from certain nations, are able to acquire a green card through the visa lottery. Notable on the list are people with at least a high school diploma or skilled labor from nations on continents throughout the world. You can file an application easily enough but many intelligent immigrants avail themselves of a lottery-based green card with the assistance of top immigration lawyers. Be aware that some people run scams with the visa lottery.

Immigrant visa preference categories also affect waiting times

What is an immigrant visa preference category? U.S. immigration laws use specific preference categories to  assign “immigrant visa numbers.” Immigrant visa numbers essentially assign your spot in the waiting line for a green card. The preferences are broken into two categories:

  1. Employment Based
  2. Family Sponsored

Family Sponsored Preference Categories

Spouses, children under 21 years of age, and parents of U.S. citizens are considered “immediate relatives” and as such are immediately eligible for immigrant visa numbers. They have the easiest path to a green card of any family members and typical waiting times are between two months and two years.

Preference categories can be seen on the this website, which is constantly updated. There are also sub-preferences for China, India, Mexico and the Philippines. The visa bulletin lists family sponsored preference categories as follows:


  1. (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.
  2. Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:
  3. (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.
  4. (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

Employment sponsored preferences

  1. Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.
  2. Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.
  3. Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to “*Other Workers”.
  4. Certain Special Immigrants:  7.1% of the worldwide level.
  5. Employment Creation:  7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers.

In ALL of the above cases certain conditions can affect your ability to Get a Green Card Fast.

  • Trouble with Law Enforcement will interfere with the green card application process and might result in deportation.
  • Fraud is a no-no.  Even innocent mistakes can be construed as deception.  So be warned.
  • We wrote about inadmissibility and deportability here.

Many other subtle issues can pop up throughout the green card process.

It’s important to know that even if you have received a notice of deportation, or put into detention, you can appeal the process!

Don’t be hasty or impulsive.

When you ask, “How Can I Get a Green Card Fast?”  the top answer is: 

Seek advice from the best immigration lawyer you can find.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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