How to Get a Green Card in USA Without Marriage

If you have decided to try and accomplish your dream – living the American dream – you probably already know that you need a valid green card (permanent residence card). The green card enables you to participate in life and activities in the United States as a full-fledged citizen.  

Luckily, there is a wide array of categories under which you can apply that do not involve marriage. This article will tell you all you need to know about getting a green card without being married. You will find different categories under which you can apply, and other regulations and requirements set out by the American government. Stay with us!

Getting a green card without marriage

The first thing you need to do before you file your green card application is find out under which category you can apply. There are several, but given that we are focusing on getting a green card without marriage, the article will explain the ones that do not require you to get married in order to apply.

Assuming you are under normal circumstances, we are going to explain the most common categories under which you can apply – family, employment, and Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (also known as the Green Card Lottery). For other existing categories and their explanations, it is best to visit the USCIS website

Category Applying as/under
Family Immediate relative of a US citizenOther relative of a US citizen or a lawful permanent residentFiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or the fiancé(e)’s childWidow(er) of a U.S. citizenVAWA self-petitioner
Employment Immigrant worker Physician National Interest WaiverImmigrant investor 
Other CategoriesLiberian Refugee Immigration FairnessDiversity Immigrant Visa ProgramCuban Adjustment ActAbused spouse/child under the CATDependent status under the HRIFAAbuse spouse or child under the HRIFALautenberg paroleeIndochinese Parole Adjustment Act of 2000American Indian born in CanadaUS-born child of a foreign diplomatSection 13 (diplomat)

Green card without marriage – categories explained 

The following paragraphs will explain what is meant and who can apply under every bolded instance in the table. 

Category – Family 

Immediate relatives includes unmarried children under 21 years of age of a US citizen and parents of a US citizen who is at least 21 years of age. Spouses of citizens are of course included in this category as well.

Other relatives concerns all other family members of a US citizen. That includes – unmarried children over 21 years of age and brothers and sisters. The same applies to relatives of a lawful permanent resident. Spouse are included in this category too.

Category – Employment 

Immigrant worker refers to first, second and third preference workers. First preference refers to people with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, sports or business; outstanding professors or researchers; multinational managers or executives.

Second preference refers to members of a profession that requires an advanced degree; people with exceptional abilities in the sciences, arts or business; people seeking a national interest waiver. 

Third preference encompasses skilled workers (in a job that requires a minimum of two years training or experience); professionals (in a job that requires at least a US bachelor’s degree); unskilled workers (performing unskilled labor that requires less than two years training or experience). 

Immigrant investor refers to a person that has invested or is in the process of investing at least $1,050,000 in a commercial enterprise that will create full-time employment for at least 10 qualified workers. Also applies to persons who are investing at least $800,000 in a targeted employment area or infrastructure project.

Category – Other Categories

Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, colloquially known as the Green Card Lottery, makes available around 50,000 visas annually. You can apply for a visa through the program both if you are residing outside or in the United States.

The selection process is randomized and the applicants are chosen from countries that have low immigration rates to the United States. The US Department of State regulates the Diversity Visa Program, and this application process in detail can be examined on their website.

How can you apply for a green card without getting married?

The application process may seem a bit complicated, but if you study the instructions and requirements properly, it is going to be a piece of cake! After having checked your eligibility, you will (in most cases) need to find a sponsor for your application. Application includes an immigrant petition form and a Green Card application form (I-485).  

After checking eligibility, you need to determine which process to use to apply for your green card – adjustment of status (if you are in the US) or consular processing (if you are outside the US). Detailed instructions on both processes can be accessed on USCIS pages – adjustment of status and consular processing

Green card application – general application process 

Though the application process varies depending on your circumstances, the category under which you are applying, etc., there are some general steps every applicant must complete.

  1. Your sponsor/petitioner files a petition for you (in most cases)
  2. After your petition has been approved, you file a Green Card application with USCIS
  3. Then you will be required to attend a biometrics appointment (to provide photos, fingerprints and a signature)
  4. After the appointment, you will have an interview scheduled
  5. Having completed the previous steps, the only thing that remains is to wait for a decision on your application

Green card without marriage – in brief

Hopefully this article helped you find answers to your questions about getting a green card without getting married. We listed and explained the most common categories under which you could apply (immediate & other relatives; immigrant workers/investors; Diversity Immigrant Visa Program). 

Moreover, we explained (in steps) the general application process and provided links to government pages that explain each category and the application process in more detail. In addition, we included a link to the green card application form, in case this article prompted you to apply immediately!

Frequently asked questions

How to apply for a green card in the United States without marriage?

There are several categories under which you can apply for a US green card without getting married. They are detailed in the table above.

How long is the process of obtaining a green card?

The whole process will depend on the category under which you are applying, the availability of visas for each category, and the existing backlog of applications.

How much does a green card cost?

There are several factors to consider (biometrics and the application form). E.g., if you are applying as an immigrant worker you can expect to pay around $1225. Fees vary on the category and can be calculated using the USCIS fee calculator.

Where can I get a green card photo?

You can get a green card photo taken at professional photography studios or passport photo services in retail stores. Additionally, you have the option to take your own green card photo using a high-resolution camera or our mobile green card photo app for Android or our mobile green card photo app for iOS devices. You can find more information on eGreenCardPhoto.