You may come to the United States with the ultimate goal of going through the naturalization process and becoming a U.S. citizen. The first step in this process is to obtain a green card. This is legal authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. 

However, not everyone qualifies for a green card. According to the Miami Herald, only those who fall into one of eight different categories are eligible. The following are examples of a few of the categories. 

Victims of violence or crimes 

Adults, children and youths who have been the victims of domestic abuse or neglect may be able to qualify for green cards. Another category includes asylum-seekers and refugees fleeing persecution in their home country. Victims of other crimes, such as human trafficking, may qualify for green cards, especially deportation to their home countries would impose extreme hardships. 

Employees and investors 

People who want to work in the United States may qualify for green cards, especially those with extraordinary skills. This typically requires an employer to sponsor you, or you may qualify by making a substantial monetary investment. 

Family members of current residents 

If you have a family member who is a citizen of the United States, or at least a permanent resident, he or she may be able to sponsor you, and you may be able to qualify for a green card that way. Generally speaking, immediate family members of permanent residents and relatives of U.S. citizens get preference. 

Special immigrants 

There is a broad range of cases that do not fit into the other categories. It includes employees of recognized international organizations and religious workers as a few examples. These people may be eligible for a green card under the category of special immigrants. 

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