The Green Card Lottery is one of the most popular pathways to citizenship because it is an alternative to the more difficult and onerous immigrant visa programs.
There are a number of other programs, but as one can see, there is much more work to it than the Green Card Lottery.
Temporary Work to Permanent Residency
The H1-B visa is an incredibly popular non-immigrant visa because it allows a person to maintain something called dual intent.
Typically, foreign residents in the U.S. are either non-immigrants (temporary) or immigrants (permanent) and it is difficult to switch between the two. However, with dual intent, immigrants can easily switch from a temporary work visa to Permanent Resident.
This is a difficult visa to get because it requires employer sponsorship and there are a limited number of visas available per year. H1-B visas very often run out within a month of becoming available!
Family members living in the United States can sponsor the citizenship of their relatives into the United States, but they have to complete quite a few requirements in the process.
For example, the sponsor’s immigration status in the United States affects the process. Citizens are able to help their relatives immigrate rather quickly, but the relatives of Permanent Residents have to wait for visas. Sometimes up to ten years!
Sponsors also need to prove to the government that they are well off enough to financially support their relatives upon their entry into the United States.
This is of course beside the fact that only certain relatives are allowed to be sponsored. Cousins, for example, are not eligible.
However, recent changes in U.S. policy have made it possible for same-sex couples to sponsor their partners for immigration. This was previously not possible.