There are many pathways to obtaining permanent resident status in the United States if you are a Mexican national. The right path for you will depend on your eligibility category and the unique circumstances of your case.
In this article, we will discuss various ways Mexican immigrants can become permanent residents of the U.S.
But first things first, here are some quick pointers:
- Common pathways to U.S. permanent residence for Mexicans include marriage, employment, and certain humanitarian reasons;
- Currently, DACA does not offer a direct pathway to permanent residence for Mexicans;
- Mexicans can apply for green cards from within and also outside the United States;
- The marriage green card process is the most popular pathway to a green card;
- The right pathway will depend on the immigrant’s unique circumstances and eligibility category;
- Seek professional help before applying for a green card, especially if you are in the U.S. illegally.
Green Card Through Marriage
If your fiancé is a U.S. citizen, you can apply for a fiancé visa, also known as a K-1 visa. This is not a permanent resident visa; it allows you to travel to the United States and marry your U.S.-citizen spouse within 90 days and then apply for a permanent resident card.
If approved, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will grant you a two-year conditional green card. A conditional green card helps establish that your marriage to the U.S. citizen spouse was not fraudulent.
Suppose you have been married to the U.S. citizen spouse for more than two years and have proven that the marriage was not fraudulent. In that case, you will receive a 10-year green card.
This pathway to permanent residency allows lawful permanent residents to file for U.S. citizenship three years into their marriage to their U.S. spouses. They must first obtain a 10-year green card to apply for citizenship.
The marriage green card timeline varies depending on several factors. This article explains everything you need to know about how long this process takes and what to expect.
Green Card through Employment
Certain immigrant workers from Mexico and all over the world might be able to obtain green cards through employment. However, the USCIS has specific requirements foreign nationals, including Mexicans, must meet to be eligible for a green card through this pathway.
The U.S. immigration service groups immigrant workers into three main categories, as discussed below.
1) First Preference Immigrant Workers
You may be a first preference immigrant worker if you possess extraordinary ability in education, arts, sciences, business, or athletics. You may also qualify if you are an outstanding researcher, professor, multinational executive, or manager who also meets certain eligibility requirements.
2) Second Preference Immigrant Worker
This eligibility category is for individuals in a profession requiring an advanced degree or exceptional ability in business, arts, or sciences.
3) Third Preference Immigration Worker
A third preference immigration worker is usually a skilled worker whose job requires a minimum of two years of training or work experience. Certain skilled workers may also be eligible under this category.
You may also be eligible if you are a qualifying skilled physician or an immigrant investor.
Green Card Through Refugee Status
Here is how this process works:
Mexicans can also apply for a green card one year after being granted asylum status by the United States government.
Generally, to be eligible for a green card as a Mexican immigrant, you:
- must have been physically residing in the United States for at least one year after being granted asylum;
- must continue to meet the definition of an asylee;
- must not have abandoned your asylee status; and
- must be admissible to the United States.
You can apply for a waiver if not admissible. However, the USCIS has the final decision regarding this matter.
Alternatively, you can apply for a green card one year after being granted refugee status in the U.S.
Green Card as a Victim of Certain Crimes
Mexican citizens who are victims of crimes such as human trafficking can apply for a green card if they meet other eligibility requirements. For example, you will need a T nonimmigrant visa to apply for a green card as a victim of human trafficking.
On the other hand, you can apply for a green card if you have a U nonimmigrant visa. This visa is granted to individuals who are victims of certain crimes, have suffered mental or physical abuse, and are assisting law enforcement or United States government officials in investigating or prosecuting those involved in such crimes.
Green Card Through the Diversity Visa Program
If you won the diversity immigrant visa program, you and your family members may be eligible for a green card. Here is a complete list of various eligibility categories that could apply to different applicants from Mexico.
Green Card Through INA 245(i) Adjustment of Status
The 245(i) Adjustment of Status is yet another possible pathway for many Mexicans living in the United States to obtain a green card. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
What is 245(i)?
254(i) is a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, allowing certain immigrants, including Mexicans, who entered the U.S. without inspection at the point of entry, to adjust their status while still living in the United States.
This option is unique because it allows eligible immigrants to adjust their statuses and obtain a green card without leaving the U.S.
In addition, eligible Mexican immigrants may be awarded a green card through this pathway regardless of:
- how they entered the United States;
- working in the U.S. without employment authorization; or
- failing to maintain continuous lawful status in the U.S. since entering the country.
Who Qualifies for 245(i) Adjustment of Status?
You may be eligible for a green card through section 245(i) if you:
- are the beneficiary of a qualifying Form I-130, I-140, or Form ETA-750 filed on or before April 20, 2021;
- are the beneficiary of a qualifying Form I-130 or I-140 petition or an application for labor certification;
- were physically present in the U.S. on December 21, 2000, and are the primary beneficiary of a qualifying petition filed between January 15, 1988, and April 30, 2001;
- are legally admissible to the United States or qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility or any other form of relief available to you; and
- have more positive factors in your case than negatives, also known as ‘warranting the favorable exercise of discretion.’
How to Apply for INA 245(i)?
You must meet the eligibility requirements mentioned above. Then, follow these steps:
- Properly file Form I-485 and Form I-485 Supplement A;
- Pay the application fee (unless exempt);
- Provide the supporting evidence.
Examples of supporting documents you will need to proceed with your INA 245(i) application include:
- Two passport-style photos;
- A copy of your government-issued picture ID and birth certificate;
- Form I-693, and proof of physical presence in the U.S. on December 21, 2000.
Where applicable, you may need the following additional documents:
A copy of your non-immigrant visa, passport page with admission into the U.S., Arrival/Departure Record, affidavit of support (Form I-864), declaration of self-sufficiency (Form I-944), and your medical examination and vaccination record (Form I-693)
Keep in mind that this list of requirements for Mexicans and other qualifying immigrants is not exhaustive; they may be subject to change without notice.
Other Eligibility Categories For Mexicans Wishing to Apply for a Green Card
The USCIS has other eligibility categories for Mexican nationals applying for a green card from within or outside the United States.
Here are some examples:
You can apply for a green card if you are an abused spouse of a U.S. spouse or a lawful permanent resident, an abused U.S. citizen parent, or an abused child of a U.S. citizen or green card holder.
However, when applying based on your eligibility as an abused child of a U.S. citizen or green card holder, you must not be married or older than 21 years (you will need your birth certificate to prove your age).
Children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents and have Special Immigrant Juvenile status can also apply for a green card.
FAQs About How Mexicans Can Get a Green Card
How Can a DACA Recipient Get a Green Card?
Currently, DACA does not offer a direct pathway for recipients to change their immigration status. But, DACA recipients can apply for a green card through marriage, employment, or humanitarian grounds.
Two factors will come into play when applying for a green card as a DACA recipient: whether you entered the U.S. legally or illegally.
- If you entered the U.S. illegally, you must apply for a green card from your home country, in this case, Mexico. Additionally, if you entered the country illegally and stayed for more than a year, you may be banned from re-entering for three or ten years, depending on the circumstances of your case. Keep in mind that you can either wait until your ban is no longer in effect or apply for a national interest waiver with the help of an experienced attorney who understands U.S. immigration law.
- You can apply for a green card if you entered the U.S. legally. However, remember the USCIS does not have a direct path to green cards for DACA recipients. Therefore, even in the U.S., you will still need to apply for a green card through any eligibility categories we mentioned earlier, such as a marriage-based green card.
Not sure where to start with your marriage green card application as a DACA recipient? This article discusses everything a DACA applicant needs to know about this process.
How Can I Apply for DACA?
You will need to fill out Form I-821D, also known as Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, to apply for DACA.
NOTE: This form is available on the USCIS website. Keep in mind that a website belonging to an official government organization ends with ‘.gov.’
That said, here is a more detailed guide on how to go apply for DACA.
Is a U.S. Green Card the Same As U.S. Citizenship?
No, these two are different from each other. A U.S. green card is what leads to citizenship. Learn more about the difference between a green card and U.S. citizenship here.
How Do I Check My Green Card Status?
The exact steps depend on your location. This article explains these steps in detail.
How Many Mexican Nationals Receive U.S. Green Cards Every Year?
Recent statistics show Mexican nationals have a high chance of obtaining U.S. green cards. A study revealed that over 100,000 Mexicans received green cards in 2020 alone. This was the highest percentage of green cards awarded by the USCIS in 2020.
India, China, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, the Philippines, El Salvador, Brazil, Cuba, and South Korea sealed the top 10 countries in that particular order.