Visa Options for Permanent Residency in the United States | Austin Immigration Lawyer | Nanthaveth & Associates

Your visa options: designation as a green card holder or permanent resident of the United States allows you to live in the country indefinitely, own your own business, work, and even join the military. Though you cannot vote or receive government benefits, you will have the privilege of applying for citizenship after five years. Moreover, you will be protected by the same laws that protect citizens.

Responsibilities of a Green Card Holder

It is important to note that there are responsibilities that go along with the rights of a being a permanent U.S. resident. According to the USCIS, a green card holder must obey all laws, file all income tax returns, not interfere with the democratic processes of government, and males between 18 and 24 years of age are required to register with the Selective Service.

Pursuing a Green Card

There are several different paths to permanent residency in the United States. Your best course of action is to find an immigration lawyer to discuss the best strategies for you to pursue permanent residency.

In Austin, TX, you can find an immigration lawyer and law firm at Nanthaveth & Associates that is professional and experienced in helping permanent residency applicants.

Family Relationships

Having a family member who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident sponsor you has historically been the easiest path to securing a green card. Note that the relative must also prove that they can support you financially at a specified level in case you do not find work immediately.

Obtain Permanent Residency Through Family Relationships | Visa Options | Nanthaveth & AssociatesCitizens may sponsor permanent residency for spouses or children as well as parents or siblings. Permanent residents can sponsor a spouse or children who are not married.

Sponsors are required to complete an I-130 application and an Affidavit of Support to admit a relative for permanent residency. In any case, it is advisable to find an immigration lawyer to help you with the forms. Mistakes and inaccuracies with details can create confusion and postpone issuance of a green card for a considerable time.

Employment Visa Options

Some companies employ foreign nationals who have specific skills and abilities that may not be available otherwise. Such professionals as doctors, scientists, academics, and multinational business executives are people who fall into this category. The sponsoring company might apply for permanent residency on behalf of the candidate.

In other work environments, companies may not be able to find a qualified candidate within the United States who can perform certain duties. In these cases, the company may apply for a labor certification. To be approved, the company must prove by application to the state employment agency that there is no alternative available and that the foreign worker will be paid approximately what a U.S. worker would.

The Green Card Lottery

To allow for a balanced diversity of immigrants, the U.S. Government created a system called the U.S. Green Card Lottery. The lottery gives preference to underrepresented countries that have had fewer immigrants and randomly selects entries who hope to move to the United States. The limit has been 50,000 per year. Millions of people enter the lottery, though entry is restricted to those with an equivalent of a high school education and at least two years of employment (during the past five years) in a field that requires two years of training.

The intent of the lottery program requirements is to give hopefuls from nonrestricted countries a chance to live, work and educate in the United States without becoming a burden on society after arrival.


Refugees are individuals whose lives and safety may be in jeopardy if they were to return to their native country. The U.S. Government grants asylum in these cases, and the individuals may apply for permanent residency after one full year of residency. People in this situation should find an immigration lawyer to review their rights and opportunities to obtain a green card.

Special Situations & Visa Options lists some unique situations in which certain individuals might apply and eventually qualify for permanent residency visa options. Some of these are:

  • Religious workers
  • Foreign medical graduates
  • Former international U.S. Government workers
  • Retired employees of international organizations
  • Service people with 12 years duty
  • Persons declared dependent by a juvenile court

These special situations may require you to find a qualified immigration lawyer with experience to help you to apply for permanent residency.

Contact Nanthaveth & Associates for Green Card Information

Vi Nanthaveth & Associates is a multilingual and experienced immigration law firm whose compassion and expertise have solved many immigration issues in the Austin, TX, area. Contact Nanthaveth & Associates regarding questions about permanent residency for yourself, family, or for foreign employees.

To find an immigration lawyer, visit the firm’s website at or phone for a free consultation to discuss your needs. Call today at 512.371.9000.

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About Nanthaveth & Associates:

Nanthaveth & Associates, PLLC is a trusted immigration law firm located in Austin, Texas. Immigration law experts at Nanthaveth and Associates are prepared to provide legal counsel for businesses, families and individuals in the areas of green cards, deportation, adjustment of status, work visas and investor visa applications, family-sponsored immigration, employer compliance, self-petitions, permanent residence, naturalization, waivers, appeals, foreign adoptions, mediation and more.

For Austin, TX immigration help call Nanthaveth & Associates at 512.371.9000.