The permanent resident card (green card) is the ID that demonstrates a foreign-born individual has permanent residency in the United States.

As of 2019, official statistics estimate more than 13.5 million green card holders in the United States. Among these green card holders, approximately 9.1 million meet the eligibility requirements to obtain US citizenship.

While millions of people want a green card, only a few manage to attain this lifetime goal. Why? Several reasons explain the hardship of obtaining a US green card.

In this article, you will find out whether it is hard to obtain a US green card.

How Hard is it to Get a Green Card in the US? – The Basics

Overall, obtaining permanent residency in the United States is not easy. Annually, hundreds of thousands of applicants apply for green cards. However, most of them fail. In essence, not being able to get a green card to live permanently in the United States may indicate the applicant:

  • Has not met the basic requirements for eligibility established by US Immigration
  • Is technically eligible for a green card, albeit separated by another ground of inadmissibility
  • Could not handle or failed the application requirements (in part or as a whole)

How Hard is it to Get a Green Card in the US? – The Most Common Issues

Lack of Eligibility

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security responsible for the country’s immigration system. The USCIS organizes the different visa categories per eligibility requirements.

Each category is narrowly defined, so either a candidate is eligible for a green card, or the application is not approved. For example, many foreign citizens obtain green cards through close family members who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Other examples are foreign-born individuals who obtain a job offer from a US-based company or foreign entrepreneurs willing to invest at least $1 million in a US business enterprise to create ten full-time jobs for American citizens.

Although these are only summarized requirements, there is no way to circumvent the eligibility requirements when applying for a specific category. Fortunately, there are more than 180 options of visas available, divided into nonimmigrant and immigrant visas.

If you want to obtain permanent residency in the United States, the best approach is to find the ideal green card option for your case with the help of an expert immigration attorney.


Many foreign applicants even manage to meet the eligibility requirements for a US green card, but they fail further in the process by being inadmissible to the United States. In US Immigration, “inadmissibility” refers to factors that make you unacceptable in the United States.

In this context, not only criminals and terrorists are inadmissible. For instance, green card applicants with tuberculosis or who refuse to receive the required vaccinations are inadmissible.

Depending on the case, some applicants may obtain a waiver. However, these waivers have their own requirements and require more documents and evidence. Ideally, the best way to increase your chances is to ensure your admissibility by working with an experienced legal advisor.

Increase Your Chances of Obtaining a US Green Card – Work with an Expert Immigration Attorney in Florida

The scrutiny involved in USCIS’s application processing may be overwhelming. Do not let a small mistake or a missing piece of evidence preclude you from attaining your dreams.

Call Immigration Attorney Romy B. Jurado today at (305) 921-0976 or email [email protected] to schedule an initial consultation.