How to Get Your Green Card in Florida: 5 Things You Need to Know
By Space Coast Daily // March 21, 2022
Nothing embodies the American Dream more than Florida. The Sunshine State is known for its business opportunities, breathtaking scenery, ideal tax environment, world-class entertainment, and enviable real estate properties.
No wonder it consistently ranked as the fourth state for a number of green card holders over the past 8 years!
But how can you get started on your pathway towards becoming a lawful permanent resident of Florida? Here are four routes worth considering (plus a must-know pro tip)!
Consider Applying for a Family-Based Green Card
As the 4.5 million lawful permanent residents living in the state prove, it is certainly possible to get a green card in Florida. But there is still a complex bureaucratic process separating you from enjoying long walks along Miami’s beaches.
The fastest way to obtain a green card is through the sponsorship offered by your immediate relatives who are U.S. citizens or green cardholders.
Your spouse, children, or parents can file a petition for you to receive a lawful permanent resident permit based on your family ties. Once the petition is formalized through USCIS forms I-130 (Petition For Alien Relative) and I-485, you’ll be able to obtain your green card within 7 to 33 months.
Investing in an EB-5 Business Is Ideal for Entrepreneurs
With a 0% income tax and the fourth-best tax climate across all states, Florida represents a sought-after paradise for investors and business owners alike. If you have been looking for the best launchpad for your new business venture and are considering moving to America, the EB-5 visa can help you kill two birds with one stone.
Also known as the Fifth Employment-Based Visa Preference, the EB-5 visa is awarded to those entrepreneurs who are able to invest at least $1.8 million (or $900,000 in Targeted Employment Areas with an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average) in a new or existing business.
Ultimately, this “Job Creation Visa,” allows you to become a lawful permanent resident of Florida by creating at least 10 full-time jobs through your investment.
Learn About Other Employment-Based Visas
If you are not looking to pursue the investment route, there are other employment-based visa preferences you might consider. The EB1, EB2, and EB3 visas are designed to facilitate the immigration of professionals with exceptional abilities or advanced degrees.
Aside from the EB4 visa, which is dedicated to “special” immigrants, other employment-based visas require you to be sponsored by an employer. While this kind of green card application requires you to meet rigorous criteria, you certainly won’t be short of career opportunities in Florida!
Enter the Diversity Visa Program
USCIS provides a range of options to immigrants looking to enter the US as lawful permanent residents. And, whether you are eligible for one of the options above or not, it is always worth considering submitting an entry for the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) program.
This USCIS-sponsored, lottery-like visa program is designed to facilitate the entry of up to 55,000 foreign nationals each year, given that they meet the set education, financial, nationality, and criminal record requirements.
If you are ready to try your luck, you can register for the DV program online and track your application progress through the Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website – just make sure to be mindful of deadlines!
Always Work With an Attorney
Green card applications can be lengthy and complex processes, especially if you are a foreign national not familiar with the USCIS system.
Undoubtedly, becoming a lawful permanent resident of the US is within your reach. But don’t underestimate the percentage of green card applications that are denied each year – which can range from 6% to 50%!
Additionally, the review process takes an average of 120 days – but it can last longer than a year. So, if you are looking to apply for a green card, you should always opt to do so with an expert immigration attorney by your side.
A professional can help you find the right pathway for your unique circumstances, avoid common errors, and prevent a denied green card from affecting your ability to ever become a resident of Florida or a citizen of the US.