U.S. Green Card Application Process Without Marriage

U.S. Green Card Application Process Without Marriage
  • PublishedAugust 16, 2022

The easiest way to get a green card is to get married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. According to this option, a marriage must be valid for a reason other than obtaining a green card. There are other more appropriate routes for those who wish to become green card holders.

Options for obtaining a green card

Visas for family members, visas for employment, and visas for special immigrants are the three main types of green cards. There are subcategories within some of these, which we explore in more detail below. As part of our analysis, we also look at the yearly lottery for diversity visas.

Immigration based on family relationships

The immediate family member of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident can apply for a green card based on their marriage. In addition to the spouse and children, this includes parents, siblings, and other dependents.

A green card based on family ties is the easiest path to a green card, but most foreign nationals seeking immigrant green cards do not know anyone who lives long-term in the United States.

Consequently, some immigrants might look for a spouse in the United States as their first step. It is essential to understand that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will need adequate evidence of the integrity and affection present in the marriage. It is also possible to interview the close friends and relatives of the couple about their relationship.

Many individuals seeking immigration may not be able to qualify for a green card based on marriage.

There are other options available to green card applicants without American family members. The chances of securing a green card are better for those with special skills, exceptional academic accomplishments, unique characteristics, or other valuable assets. The popularity of employment-based green cards continues to grow.

When attempting to obtain a green card, we recommend you work with a lawyer with experience in immigration law. Attorneys like these guide selecting the most appropriate green card application so that foreign citizens are best prepared and most likely to receive approval. Green card attorneys should have experience in specific fields within immigration law, not just in immigration law in general.

Green Cards based on employment

Employers have the option of choosing from five categories of employment-based green cards, each with its requirements:

  • EB-1.
  • EB-2.
  • EB-3.
  • EB-4.
  • EB-5.

The employer of a foreign citizen living in the U.S. can help them apply for a green card.

An immigrant who receives a job offer from their employer, a potential employer, or their legal representative files a petition for employment-based green cards. It is essential to submit all employment-based documents accurately to USCIS

to avoid delays in the sometimes-lengthy process.


Applicants must demonstrate noteworthy accomplishments or ambitions to qualify for an EB-1 green card. Among the possibilities are:

  • Exhibit extraordinary ability or fame that will continue to grow, or
  • Identify yourself as being an outstanding teacher or researcher who has done the research for at least three years, who is seeking tenure or research opportunities in the U.S., or
  • Manage and execute certain relevant business activities in an already-existing business relationship.


To qualify for an EB-2 green card, applicants must possess one of the following two qualifications:

  • The equivalent of an advanced degree in another country.
  • Scientists, business professionals, or artists with exceptional abilities.


Non-U.S. citizens are eligible for the EB-3 visa:

  • Employees must have at least two years of experience, training, or education in their field.
  • Employers experiencing a labor shortage seek professionals with baccalaureate degrees or foreign equivalents.
  • An unskilled worker is applying to a job that doesn’t have U.S. workers.


A variety of employment positions are eligible for an EB-4 visa, including:

  • A medical professional with a license.
  • A spiritual leader or religious worker.
  • Employees of the media.
  • Armed forces member of the United States.
  • An employee of a government agency who qualifies.
  • Translator of Afghan and Iraqi languages.
  • Juvenile immigrants with special needs.
  • Victims of abuse and hardship caused by family members.

There are a limited number of employment-based green cards available. So if you think any of these categories apply, you should speak to a lawyer about availability.


It is open to foreign entrepreneurs with sufficient investment capital who wish to invest in a U.S. business to create jobs and stimulate the economy. To qualify for the EB-5 investment program, you must meet some of the following requirements:

  • EB5 investments start at $800,000 or $1,050,000, depending on project type.
  • Over two years, the business must provide 10 direct or indirect U.S. jobs.
  • The USCIS must receive accurate documentation and the forms on time.

An EB-5 regional center in the U.S. pairs immigrant investors with projects to facilitate EB-5 investments. Investment in regional centers has many advantages, including counting indirect and induced jobs in the 10 created jobs total.

With a worldwide network of legal experts and industry professionals, EB5 Affiliate Network (EB5AN) is one of the largest operators and consultancies specializing in EB-5 regional centers. Contact EB5AN if you have questions about the EB-5 process or how to apply for a green card.

The Special Immigrant Program

Afghani and Iraqi nationals can apply for the Special Immigrant Visa Program. Unique immigrant green cards are available only to citizens of Afghanistan or Iraq under great personal duress or hardship, government employees, or those who have rendered exceptional service to the nation.

In addition to letters of recommendation, biographical documents, and a medical waiver, additional documents are required. In addition, USCIS must conduct a final interview.

Immigration Lottery for Diverse Immigrants

Foreign nationals from countries with lower immigration rates are given 50,000 green cards annually for immigration purposes. The Diverse Immigrant Visa Program (DIV) was established to offer residency and citizenship opportunities to those with fewer resources.

As recipients of such a green card are chosen randomly, only those with specific skill sets or education are eligible. Through such a process, many U.S. permanent residents have obtained their green cards, despite what can sometimes be a rigorous program. In this yearly lottery, the Department of State oversees the process.

The foreign citizen who wins the diversity immigrant green card will receive notice when they can apply for a green card while legally residing in the United States. For registering permanent residence or adjusting status, they must submit Form I-485 to USCIS.

How to Decide Which Green Card Option Is Right for You

If you are looking for information about relocating to the U.S. without a marriage-based green card, then you should contact an immigration lawyer. There is usually no charge for consultations with lawyers. To be successful in EB-5, foreign investors need the help of an experienced immigration lawyer.

If you want to know which path to a green card is best for you, consider the following:

  • Achieving personal goals.
  • Degrees or advanced education.
  • A valuable set of skills.
  • Experience in teaching or working.
  • The number of available wait times.
  • A family member’s eligibility.
  • Requirements for the program.
  • The level of income.
  • Filing fees.

A Guide to Obtaining a Green Card without Marital Status

I-140, I-360, I-130, and I-526 petitions are common forms encountered during the green card application process, depending on the green card route one takes.

A petition for immigration for alien workers, Form I-140

Upon arriving in the U.S. with a sponsor, an alien worker fills out an Immigration Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140.

The foreign worker does not need a labor certification, and the foreign worker needs to satisfy at least one of the following:

  • An individual with exceptional abilities.
  • Professors or researchers of note.
  • An executive or manager in a qualified U.S. company.
  • Possessing a high level of academic education.
  • When there aren’t enough applicants in the U.S. for a job.

Special Immigrant Petition, Amerasian Petition, Widowship/Widowers Petition, I-360

You need to complete Form I-360 if:

  • Immigrants with special needs.
  • The Amerasian people.
  • Whether the widowed person is a citizen or a resident of the United States is irrelevant.
  • The fourth-preference EB-4 green card is available to foreign nationals who meet the eligibility requirements.

An Alien Relative Petition, Form I-130

Applicants must file Form I-130 on behalf of the immediate immigrant family members they intend to sponsor for permanent residency, including spouses and children.

Petition for Immigrant Status by Alien Entrepreneur, Form I-526

EB-5 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, Form I-526, contains information about the immigrant investment process for green cards for alien entrepreneurs after an EB-5 investment has been made in a new commercial enterprise (NCE). The company must demonstrate that it will produce and sustain at least 10 full-time American jobs for two years.

An investor filing for an I-526 petition can file for a conditional permanent residency card as soon as the petition is approved. In that case, they must file Form I-485 if they are residents in the United States at the time. In such cases, they will need to submit Form DS-260 if they live outside the U.S.

To receive a conditional lawful permanent residence (CLPR) after an EB-5 investor fills out the I-485 or DS-260, they must wait two years. Immigrants may live, work, and travel in the United States as long as they spend at least half of that time there. Immigrants may live, work, and travel in the United States as long as they spend at least half of that time there.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must receive Form I-829, or Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, 90 days before the end of the two years to lift the conditions on their U.S. residency. After that, the investor becomes a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. with a renewable green card every 10 years.

Documentation required to support this application

The following documents must accompany every application, regardless of which avenue you choose:

  • Images from the recent past.
  • Information about the author.
  • Certification of birth.
  • Records of academic achievement.
  • Statements of financial position.
  • The history of my work.
  • Criminal activity.
  • An evaluation of a person’s character.

Without full transparency of the above documents, delays may be extended until final adjudication. The recommendation is to seek professional assistance.

Consular Processing

While outside the United States, a foreign national seeking permanent U.S. residency must coordinate the process with the local U.S. embassy or consulate. During consular processing, you will interact with the immigration officials of the home country and conduct interviews with their representatives.

Maintaining transparency during the process, especially regarding health issues or criminal records, is essential.


Here are the most likely options for gaining permanent residence without marriage:

  • Green cards based on employment.
  • Green cards are based on investment.
  • Lottery for green cards every year.

Before starting the immigration process, you should contact an attorney if these scenarios seem likely. Our team of experts at EB5AN is always ready to help potential investors and answer any questions about green cards in the USA without marrying.

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