A Green Card is your golden ticket to a permanent residency in the United States and enables you to relocate to any state, get labor certification, and earn a living while also being able to settle down with your family.
So, if you dream of a new life in America, keep reading as we dive into the nitty-gritty details of applying for the Green Card lottery.
We’ll cover everything you need to know, from the eligibility requirements and the application procedures to the necessary documents and fees. With our comprehensive guide, you’ll be one step closer to making your American dream a reality!
Here is a quick look at the steps involved in applying for a US Green Card
There are several types of Green Cards, each with its own set of eligibility requirements and application procedures. Here are the most common ones:
Family-based Green Card: If you have an immediate relative who is a United States citizen or permanent resident, they can sponsor you for a Green Card. This includes spouses, parents, children, and siblings.
Employment-Based Green Cards: If you have a job offer in the U.S., your employer can sponsor you for a Green Card. This includes professionals, skilled workers, and investors. One of the benefits of a green card is that you can get labor certification in the U.S.
Diversity Visa Lottery: Every year, the U.S. government holds a lottery program that randomly selects individuals from countries with low immigration rates to the U.S. The diversity visa lottery winners are eligible to apply for a Green Card.
Asylum or Refugee Status: A foreign national fleeing persecution or fear for their safety in their home country, may be eligible for a Green Card through asylum or refugee status and become a permanent resident.
Humanitarian Programs: There are also Green Card programs for victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other forms of abuse or exploitation.
To qualify for a U.S. Green Card, there are a variety of requirements that must be met. Each immigrant visa has its own unique set of criteria, but there are also some general requirements that must be satisfied.
Applicants must apply for their Green Card from their home country. If you are already in the US, there are specific conditions that you must meet to be eligible.
For those on a temporary visa, such as an H1B visa, it must be a dual intent visa, which allows you to apply for a Green Card after a specified period of time.
If you’re applying for a family-based Green Card, you must have a family member who is either your fiancé/spouse, child, sibling, or biological or adoptive parent, who is a US citizen or permanent resident and willing to sponsor your Green Card application. Additionally, they must be able to financially support you until you find a job, and be at least 21 years old with a valid United States address.
For employment-based Green Cards, a job offer in the US is necessary, which must be evidenced by a signed contract or letter from your employer. Your employer must demonstrate financial stability, which will be verified through financial statements.
It’s crucial that you have complied with all laws and regulations if you have been in the US previously, and did not overstay your visa. Lastly, you must not have a criminal record to be eligible for a Green Card.
Once you have determined which type of immigrant visa you are eligible for and have met the requirements, you can begin the Green Card application process.
The first step in the process is to have a sponsor petition on your behalf. This sponsor can be an immediate relative or an employer, depending on the type of visa you are applying for.
If you are applying for a family-sponsored visa, your sponsor must fill out Form I 130, Petition for Alien Relatives. If you are applying for an employment-based visa, your sponsor must fill out Form I 140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
These forms must be filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and a Green Card fee must be paid.
Once your petition has been accepted, you will need to apply for a Green Card through Form I 485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
Along with this form, you will need to submit supporting documents such as proof of identity, a travel document to prove lawful entry into the U.S. and a medical exam report. You will also need to have your fingerprints taken and attend a Visa interview.
After your application is reviewed, you will be notified of your status. If your application is approved, you will receive your Green Card in the mail. If your application is denied, you may be able to appeal the decision or reapply.
It’s important to note that the application process can take anywhere from 7 to 33 months to complete. During this time, it’s important to keep your contact information up-to-date with USCIS and to respond promptly to any requests for additional information.
The Visa Bulletin is an important tool for immigrants and their sponsors to track the progress of their visa applications and to understand the visa backlog and processing times.
It is also used by immigration attorneys, employers, and government agencies to determine the availability of visa numbers and to plan their immigration strategies.
After your petition is approved by USCIS, the National Visa Center (NVC) will send you a package to your country of residence containing instructions and forms to fill out.
Once you receive the package, follow the instructions to apply for the visa at a U.S. Embassy in your country of residence and pay all the necessary fees and submit supporting documents. You will then get invited to a visa interview.
If your visa is approved, you must travel to the US with an arrival package provided by the U.S. Embassy.
Remember not to open it, as only a United States immigration official at a port of entry is authorized to do so and decide whether to admit you to the U.S.
Note that having a visa does not guarantee entry; the immigration officials at any U.S. port of entry have the authority to decide.
With a Green Card in hand, you can travel in and out of the United States as much as you want. However, bear in mind that you cannot stay outside of the United States for more than one year, or your Green Card will expire, and you will need to go through the Green Card process once again.
A Green card holder is required to renew their green card every ten years, but one can also apply for naturalization and become a United States citizen after five years of residency (or three years if they are married to a U.S. citizen).
Applying for a Green Card in the United States can be complex and requires meeting various eligibility criteria and application procedures.
However, the information provided above gives an easy-to-understand guide to help potential immigrants understand the process better. Read more information on our blog about understanding different types of U.S. Visas and get started with digital banking services as an immigrant in the US.