How To Apply For a US Green Card
The US Green Card, officially known as the Permanent Resident Card, is a highly sought-after document by those looking to make the United States their home. But what does the process entail, and how can one navigate it successfully? This comprehensive guide is here to help you understand.
Understanding the US Green Card
The US Green Card serves as proof that its holder has been officially granted immigration benefits to live and work in the United States permanently. This includes the freedom to work and live anywhere within the country. However, obtaining a Green Card involves a complex, multi-step process that can take years, depending on various factors.
US Green Card Types: Know Your Path
There are different types of Green Cards available depending on one’s particular situation:
- Family-Sponsored Green Cards: If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, you could qualify for a family-sponsored Green Card. This category is further divided into Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas and Family Preference Immigrant Visas.
- Employment-Based Green Cards: Employment-Based Green Cards are granted to certain categories of workers and their families. The subcategories include priority workers, professionals holding advanced degrees, skilled workers, and more.
- Green Card Lottery: The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, or “Green Card Lottery,” randomly selects applicants from countries with low immigration rates to the U.S.
- Green Card for Refugees and Asylees: Those granted asylum in the U.S. or admitted as refugees can apply for a Green Card one year after their entry or grant of asylum.
The kind of Green Card that applies to you depends on your personal situation, and understanding this is the first step in your Green Card journey.
How to Apply for the US Green Card: An Expanded Guide
Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility Category
This is where you decide what type of Green Card applies to you. This could be family, employment, asylum, or the Diversity Visa, among others.
Step 2: File an Immigrant Petition
Usually, a sponsor files an immigrant petition on your behalf. However, in some cases, you may be eligible to file for yourself.
Step 3: Wait for a Decision on Your Petition
After filing, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will send a notice of receipt, and later, a notice of action, approving or denying the petition.
Step 4: Wait for a Visa Number to Become Available
In some cases, a visa number might be available immediately. Other times, due to yearly limits on the number of Green Cards issued, you might have to wait.
Step 5: Apply to Adjust Your Current Status or Apply for an Immigrant Visa
If you are currently in the United States, you can apply to adjust your current status to a permanent resident. If outside the U.S., you can apply for an immigrant visa.
Step 6: Attend Your Appointment
You will be scheduled for an interview at a USCIS office or U.S. embassy or consulate. You’ll also need to complete a medical examination.
Step 7: Receive Your Green Card
Once all the steps are completed and if your application is approved, you’ll receive your Green Card!
FAQs on US Green Card
How long does it take to get a US Green Card?
The processing time for a US Green Card varies based on the category and specific circumstances. It can take anywhere from 7 months to several years.
Can a Green Card be revoked?
Yes, a Green Card can be revoked under certain circumstances, such as committing a crime or failing to advise USCIS of a change of address.
Do Green Card holders have to pay taxes?
Yes, Green Card holders are considered tax residents and must declare their entire income to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
Can Green Card holders vote?
No, Green Card holders, while they are permanent residents, do not have the right to vote in federal elections. Voting rights are reserved for U.S. citizens.
What is a Conditional Green Card?
A Conditional Green Card is given to certain individuals who must then apply to remove the conditions on their residence in 90 days before the card expires after two years.
What is the difference between a Green Card and U.S. citizenship?
Green Card holders are permanent residents, while U.S. citizens have more benefits, such as the right to vote and the ability to travel with a U.S. passport.
Understanding the process of obtaining a US Green Card can be complex. However, with the right information, you can navigate the process successfully. This guide aimed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the Green Card process. Remember, each path to a Green Card is unique, and the process varies depending on individual circumstances.
Remember, securing a Green Card is a process. It can be long and may feel challenging at times, but with persistence and proper guidance, it’s certainly achievable. Navigate your immigration journey with patience and fortitude, and remember, every journey begins with a single step.