How To Get A Green Card?
The American dream has tempted many individuals to migrate to the US. Hundreds of thousands of people attempt to emigrate to this great nation each year, which has even caused a massive backlog in the system that’s now topped over a million people.
Despite this tremendous backlog, the process is still churning forward smoothly, and individuals from all over the world are considered for a Green Card. If you’re looking to migrate to the United States of America as well, you will need a Green Card or a visa to enter the country.
The following article gives you all the information on how to get a Green Card to the US. You can use this information to understand which category of migrant you belong to so you can follow the required process.
A Green Card, officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, is the document you will need to secure in order to permanently live and work in the United States of America. You can apply for a Green Card through various processes based on your current situation in life and the reasons you’re applying.
The eligibility and processes will vary significantly based on the reasons for your application. Based on these factors, you’ll have to pick a particular application and prepare the necessary documents to access the Green Card. We discuss these various factors in the sections below.
Read more: How To Renew an Expired Green Card?
Green Card Through Lottery
One of the popular methods to ascertain a Green Card is through the lottery method made available by the US.
- The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is responsible for handing out Green Cards through the lottery method.
- Up to 50,000 immigrant visas are available each year using this method.
- The winners are drawn from a random selection out of all entries made through this program.
- Individuals from countries with lower rates of immigration to the US are eligible for this method.
- The DV program is executed by the US Department of State.
- The vast majority of Green Card Lottery winners are based outside of the US.
- A small number of winners are allotted each year to individuals residing in the US on either a non-immigrant status or any other legal status.
For individuals to be eligible in this category, they will have to meet the following requirements:
- They need to have been selected for the Diversity Visa that’s offered by the DOS’s lottery.
- They should have an immigrant visa available immediately during the time of filing for an adjustment application.
- This includes Form I-485 and the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
- They must be admissible to the US.
Green Card Through Family
In this method of how to get a Green Card, people who have family members residing in the US with their own Green Card can apply for one as well.
- This method is applicable only to specific family relationships.
- You can only apply for a Green Card if you are the spouse, parent, or minor child of a U.S. citizen.
- There is also a preference immigrant category for other family members looking to apply for a Green Card.
- The first preference (F1) category applies to unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old or over.
- The second preference (F2A) category applies to spouses and children of permanent residents. Children in this category must be under the age of 21.
- Another second preference (F2B) category applies to unmarried daughters and sons of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or over.
- The third preference (F3) category applies to married sons and daughters of US residents.
- The fourth preference (F4) category applies to brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, as long as the citizen is at least 21 years of age.
- Those looking to adjust their status and gain this Green Card will need a Form I-485 and an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
You will also need to qualify for the following criteria before applying for this Green Card:
- You will need to have properly filed Form I-485.
- You will need to have either been inspected and admitted or inspected and paroled in the US.
- You should be physically present in the country while filling out Form I-485.
- You should be eligible to receive an immigrant visa.
- An immigrant visa should be immediately available to you while you fill out Form I-485 as the governing body makes its final decision.
- The relationship between you and your family member who filed the I-130 Form should still exist.
- None of the applicable bars regarding adjustment of status should apply to you.
- You should be admissible to the US for lawful and permanent residence.
- You should merit the favorable exercise based on the discretion of the US immigration officer.
Green Card Through Employer
Another method of applying for a Green Card involves obtaining a permanent residence through your employer. This involves the following factors:
- There are three preference immigrant categories in this section of the Green Card application.
- The first preference (EB-1) belongs to priority workers. These are people who display extraordinary abilities in one of the top sectors, including sciences, arts, education, athletics, or business.
- This category also includes professors, researchers, multinational managers, and business executives.
- The second preference (EB-2) includes people who are members of any profession in possession of advanced degrees or those who have exceptional skills.
- The third preference (EB-3) belongs to skilled workers, professionals, or other general workers.
To become eligible for this category of Green Card, you will need to meet the following criteria:
- You should have properly filed for the Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
- You should have been properly inspected and admitted, or inspected and paroled into the US.
- You need to have been physically present in the US when filling out Form I-485.
- You should be eligible to receive an immigrant visa.
- An immigrant visa should be immediately available to you while you’re filing for Form I-485, and during the period in which USCIS makes a final decision regarding your application.
- The job being offered to you in Form I-140 should still exist with the employer who filed the form on your behalf.
- You should plan to accept the job offer once USCIS approves your Form I-485.
- If you’ve filed Form I-1 as a self-petitioner, you should continue to work in the same or similar occupational field that’s specified in Form I-140.
- None of the factors that deny your adjustment of status should apply to you.
- You should be admissible to the US for lawful residence or should be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility.
- You should merit the favorable exercise of the USCIS’ discretion.
Green Card as a Refugee or Asylee
The last method of applying for a Green Card is available for those who are refugees or are seeking asylum from their home nation in the US. Applying for this Green Card involves these upcoming factors:
- Refugees can apply for a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) only after they’ve been present in the US for at least one year.
Eligibility in this category involves the following criteria:
- Individuals should have properly filed for the Form I-485 and Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
- You need to have been admitted into the country as a refugee under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
- You need to be physically present in the country while filing for the Form I-485.
- You need to be physically present in the US for at least a year after being admitted as a refugee while filing for the Form I-485.
- Your refugee status should not have been terminated.
- You should not have already attained a permanent residence status.
- You should be admissible to the US for lawful permanent residence, or you should be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief.
Read more: K-1 Visa Explained
How To File the Petition
There are multiple ways to file the petition for a Green Card to become a permanent resident of the United States of America.
The first step involves choosing the correct petition based on your situation. We have discussed the four categories of Green Card applications available to individuals in the section above. You need to isolate one of the categories and file the correct petition under each category.
While applying for the petition, you need to complete at least two forms based on the given category. The first one is the Green Card application which is Form I-485. Another form needs to be filed by a second party, usually by the person sponsoring for you or petitioning for you.
Read more: What Is A Green Card Joint Sponsor?
How To Check Visa Availability
According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), there are only a set number of spots available in any given year for immigrant visas issued by the Department of State of the US. For immediate relatives of US residents, the immigration visas are unrestricted, so you will not need to check for availability while applying.
Once you file for your particular Green Card application, you can check in with the Visa Bulletin of the www.uscis.gov site to figure out your place in the immigrant visa queue.
How To File Form I-485 Application to Adjust Status
As previously mentioned, Form I-485 is the basic and primary form that one needs to fill out while applying for a Green Card to the US. You can access this form online and download the application onto your system.
After this, you can print out the form, fill out all the necessary details, and scan a copy that can be used to further the process.
It’s crucial to remember that this is a complicated process as the eligibility for a permanent US citizenship is thoroughly and carefully scrutinized. There can be a lot of errors while taking on this process and this is a common phenomenon associated with getting a Green Card.
We would recommend using this office to help with your process as they are known to be extremely safe with their protocols. You can be assured that there won’t be any data errors from their end and they will strive to make your entire experience a whole lot easier.
What Is a Biometric Appointment?
When you’re applying for a Green Card to the US, you are required to participate in a biometrics appointment. During this process, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will look to record your fingerprints and take your photos.
They will use this information to scan your records in the FBI database in order to check if you have any criminal records.
Although this sounds complicated, this is often one of the easiest steps of the process and it isn’t something you should be worried about.
What Is an Interview With the Immigrant?
The interview with the immigrant is the last step of the Green Card process conducted by the USCIS. The primary purpose of this interview is to determine the authenticity of the situation of the interviewee and determine if all the information they have claimed is indeed authentic.
Some of the questions posed in this part of the process include:
- Have you ever committed any crimes?
- Have you ever voted in the US?
- Has anything in your life changed since you submitted the application for the Green Card?
- Have you received an employment authorization document?
These questions are meant to test the validity of your stance and applying truthfully should be enough to get you through this step of the process.
Read more: Common Green Card Application Questions
It may take you nearly four months from the date you entered the US to finally receive your Green Card. This process may be further extended based on the backlog being experienced by the government. It is important to remain patient during this time and not take any steps to hasten the process.
The final step actually involves waiting out the visa approval by securing your financial health and ensuring that you can stay in the country long enough to attain the Green Card.
If your Green Card is denied, you are eligible to appeal the decision by filing for Form I-290B. In some cases, it will be mentioned if you can’t apply for an appeal based on your situation, and in such cases, the decision is final.
If you can appeal the decision, there is a fee and deadline attached to the appeal date, so make sure you don’t miss the boat!
Importance of Attention to Detail
Your entire chances of ascertaining a Green Card for the US depends on you executing on all involved processes to perfection. Even the slightest bit of error could throw off your chances or extend the time it will take to get the Green Card.
We repeat, it’s crucial for you to get all the steps right while applying for the Green Card and you should be attentive about the various steps involved in this process.
For the sake of your own safety and peace of mind, we would recommend opting for this office to ensure that all the processes go smoothly. They are absolute professionals in this department, and they will ensure that your process is carried out without any hiccups.
Participation in the Green Card Lottery
Regardless of whichever category you choose how to get a Green Card, we would recommend that you participate in the Green Card Lottery regardless. This is because winning this lottery greatly boosts your chance of getting a Green Card, and in fact, it almost solidifies your chances.
If you’re going to be applying for the Green Card Lottery, we would suggest using this office as they are a safe, easy, and convenient option to execute your plans.