Green Card Applications: How PR Can Help you Get Approved
How can you use PR for green card verification?
If you’ve built a successful business here in the UK, maybe you now have your sights set stateside and are looking to grab yourself a little piece of the American dream.
Why not? It’s the land of opportunity after all.
However, it’s not as simple as packing your bags and booking the first flight outta here. If you’re thinking of setting up shop and creating a life for yourself permanently in the US, you’re going to need a green card.
What’s a green card?
Green card holders have been given permission by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to live and work in the United States permanently. The card is proof of an individual’s permanent residence and is, yes, you’ve guessed it, green.
Green card status is valid for life, but the green card itself needs to be renewed every ten years.
But it’s worth bearing in mind that applying for a green card isn’t easy, and the process can be very long, complicated and expensive.
What about a work visa?
If you’re looking to set up and grow your business across the Atlantic, you need a level of security that only a green card can provide. And public relations can help you bag one.
How do you get a green card?
How does an ambitious entrepreneur, such as yourself, secure one of these highly sought-after tickets to the promised land?
You have to meet one of the eligibility criteria within the following categories:
- Special Immigrant
- Crime Victim
Here’s a bit more detail on each:
- Family: There are a few specifics that we won’t go into here, but basically, family-based green cards are granted to those that have immediate family living in the States or who are married to a US citizen.
- Employment: Employment green cards are reserved for highly revered people in certain fields of work, people with advanced degrees and those that are exceptionally skilled workers. You can also qualify for a green card as an investor, if you’re willing to put $1 million into a new company that will create at least ten full-time positions.
- Special Immigrant: Special immigrants include, but are not limited to, religious workers, and children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by a parent.
- Refugee: Individuals that are admitted to the USA as a refugee or granted asylum status may be eligible to get a green card after being in the country for 12 months.
- Crime Victim: With the help of an immigration lawyer, people with T or U visas may be able to convert them into green cards.
- Registry: You can register for a green card if you have been living in the US continuously since before January 1st, 1972.
- Other: There are categories that don’t fall neatly into any of the above and get put into the ‘other’ box. The diversity visa, for example. Otherwise known as the Green Card Lottery.
(Not) Born in the USA
As you can see, there are a few options. But the two main routes to securing permanent US residency are family and employment.
We’re going to work on the assumption that your future life partner isn’t of American descent, and you have no immediate family living in the country. So that leaves us with employment.
Let’s look at how you, as a UK entrepreneur, can qualify for a US green card under the employment criteria.
Want to know the difference between domestic and international PR? Check out Going Global: Using International PR to Expand Your Business.
Employ your way into the USA
There are five types of employment based green cards. Here’s the lowdown:
- EB-1: Priority workers, such as multinational executives, managers, or those with extraordinary ability and experience in business, sport, art, science, and education. These are EB-1 people.
- EB-2: For those who hold a Master’s degree or higher in certain professions, including teaching, medicine, and science.
- EB-3: The EB-3 crowd are skilled workers with at least two years of experience in their field. Also in this category are low-skilled workers and those with a Master’s degree or PhD who don’t fall under the criteria set for the EB-2.
- EB-4: For certain migrants who do not fit into the other categories, including some religious workers and US Foreign service employees, to name just a couple examples.
- EB-5: Fives are for those investors we spoke about. Remember? Those who are willing to invest a million in a US business with at least ten employees.
Let’s unravel it and make it easier to understand, so you can kickstart your plan to replicate your UK success in the States.
Coming to America
In many cases, those emigrating to the US will have received a job offer and sponsorship from their future employer. However, if that’s not the case, there are other ways of securing a green card.
Here are your options for going it alone.
1. EB-1A visa
The EB-1A is for those at the very top of their game. To qualify you must:
- Demonstrate that you possess extraordinary ability in your field
- Prove that you plan to continue working in that field upon entering the US
- Show that your presence will substantially benefit the United States
Okay, but how do you prove you have an extraordinary ability that will benefit the USA?
You need to prove that you’ve received a major internationally recognised award, such as a Nobel Prize or Olympic gold medal. Failing that, you need to provide evidence showing that you satisfy at least three of the below criteria:
- Recipient of a lesser prize or award for excellence in your field
- Member of an industry-related association requiring outstanding achievement
- Published material about you in major trade publications or other media
- Participation as a judge of other people’s work
- Original contributions of major significance within your industry
- Authored scholarly articles in major trade publications or other media
- Work displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
- Performed a leading role for organisations with a distinguished reputation
- Awarded a high salary compared to others in your field
- Commercial successes in the performing arts.
2. National Interest Waiver
Here’s a rundown of the key requirements needed for a national interest waiver:
An advanced degree in your profession or (here it is again) exceptional ability.
- Area of work must have substantial merit and be of national importance.
- You must be in a position to make a significant contribution in your field.
- Show that it’s in the national interest of the USA to waive the standard requirements.
Are you starting to see how PR will help your application? Let’s look at the role of public relations in getting your green card verified.
How does PR help with green card applications?
Having read through the list of requirements needed to qualify for an EB1A or national interest waiver, you may be re-thinking the whole thing. But it’s a simple case of being very good at what you do and being able to prove it.
This is where PR comes in.
Public relations isn’t a golden ticket to success, but it can help you along the way.
Here are some of the ways that a PR professional can use their communications expertise to boost your personal brand, increase awareness of your business and stand you in good stead to get that coveted green card.
Publication in national, international and trade news
As per this breakthroughusa.com article:
‘EB1 green card applications are often best received when the alien has either been written about in the press, or if the alien has written articles that have been published in a prestigious journal. If journalists are writing about you in the press, then it must be because they feel what you have to say, or what you have done is important enough to write about. The more prestigious the publication, the greater your profile becomes.’
Press coverage is key to your transatlantic ambitions. And if there’s one thing PR pros are good at, it’s securing press coverage. We know the types of stories that land, and we know where to land them.
A successful investment round, a high-profile hire or an award win: Whatever your business news, public relations experts can find the hook and make people care – and share.
Exposure in broadcast media
Coverage in national print publications and online trade magazines is great, but it’s not the full extent of a public relations agency’s arsenal.
There’s TV and radio too. Appearing on regional news programmes will go a long way to boosting your profile as a successful business owner. As will giving interviews on local radio.
People have a special connection with their local radio stations. If you’re starting out on your PR journey, this is a great avenue for building meaningful relationships with small pockets of consumers ready to listen to what you have to say.
Then, of course, there are the big players in the broadcast media arena. When you’re ready to step into the national spotlight, a public relations consultant can secure interviews on the likes of Sky News and the BBC.
Features in other media
We’re living in a multimedia world – the age of the influencer. It’s no longer all about TV, radio, and print. These days, the average Joe can become a celebrity overnight by launching a podcast or YouTube video series.
Landing a spot on an industry-relevant podcast will get your voice heard by an army of people that you may not reach through traditional means.
If you want that green card, it pays to explore every possible avenue. So do a little research to find industry-relevant podcasters and YouTubers. Dig into their audience stats and connect with those who are best placed to boost your brand.
If you’re too busy to do the dirty work, you can always hire a public relations expert to do the digging for you.
Boosting your social influence
Do not underestimate the PR power of social media. There are 4.55 billion active social media users around the world. So, including social media in your PR strategy is a must.
You need to find where your audience hangs out and make sure you’re active on that platform: Create reels and stories. Post photos and articles. Share things that interest you. Share your entrepreneurial journey, offer business advice. The more visible you are, the more well-known and respected you’ll become. This, in turn, will lead to PR opportunities.
As a successful entrepreneur ready and able to make the jump across the water, you’ve clearly got a lot of knowledge and expertise to share.
Thought leadership is a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your field and develop a reputation as an industry leader.
Put simply, thought leaders use their own experiences and lessons to help others be successful in business.
Work with a PR pro to create valuable, insightful editorial content that the big trade publications will clamour to share. Then watch your name rise to the top of the pile. It’s where you need to be to get that all-important green card.
Looking to grab yourself some column inches in your local news publication? Read: How to Get Local Media Coverage.
The PR-Green Card Connection
So that’s how PR helps with US green card approval. By no means is press coverage a guarantee of a successful application.
However, having a portfolio of achievements and successes immortalised in print and digital puts you in a better position than those who don’t.