A lot of people think that as long as they know someone who is an American citizen, they might have an easier route to receiving a U.S. green card. However, it’s important to remember that immigration has very strict and specific rules that need to be followed. It also sets forth requirements that need to be met to make a person eligible to receive a U.S. green card.

Common Ways to Receive a U.S. Green Card

People usually receive a U.S. green card in one of three ways:

  • Family-based sponsorship
  • Employment-based sponsorship
  • Diversity visa lottery

There are other means to get a green card, but they are more difficult and are not as common as these three avenues.

Is a Friend Eligible to Sponsor You for a Green Card?

A friend, despite being an American citizen, does not fit into any of the above-mentioned categories to receive a U.S. green card. So far, immigration laws have not provided a way for them to help someone get a green card without any familial relationship.

Because of this, an American is not eligible to sponsor a friend to receive a U.S. green card or help them directly immigrate to the United States.

What Your American Can Help Within Your Immigration Process

While they have no means to help a friend get a U.S. green card, American citizens can assist in other areas of the immigration process.

Joint Sponsorship in the Affidavit of Support

An American citizen may be able to help a friend in a family-based petition. Although not in a direct sponsorship capacity, they can become joint sponsors for the affidavit of support. A financial sponsor is different from a direct immigration sponsor, and an American friend can only function as the former.

Financial Sponsor in Diversity Visa Lottery

An American can also be a financial sponsor in the Diversity Visa lottery process. If a friend of theirs wins the lottery and becomes eligible for a U.S. green card, they can join the case to be able to establish financial support.

Invitations for a Visit

For a person who is not looking to immigrate to the United States but instead just wants to visit, their American friend can assist them by writing an invitation. Through a letter, an American friend can show that the applicant has a genuine reason for wanting to visit the United States.

However, an invitation letter is not enough to get a visitor’s visa. The applicant will also need to show that:

  • They have strong ties to their home country
  • They can financially afford their trip without working in the United States
  • They have a place to stay in the U.S.

Helping to Immigrate in Other Means

There is currently no immigration law that allows American citizens to sponsor their friends to receive a U.S. green card. But while they cannot help directly, they can take part in the immigration process by means of financial sponsorship or by providing an invitation letter.