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How to Get US Green Card? Full Process

How to Get US Green Card? Full Process

To obtain a US Green Card, apply through family, employment, refugee status, or other special provisions. Complete the required paperwork, attend an interview, and await approval.

Securing a US Green Card is a significant step towards permanent residency in the United States. The full process involves navigating through official procedures and meeting eligibility criteria set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Aspiring residents must first identify their pathway to eligibility, whether through familial connections, employment offers, or other special categories recognized by US immigration law.


Following eligibility confirmation, the applicant must file the appropriate petition and provide extensive documentation to support their application. After submitting the necessary forms and fees, an interview with immigration authorities typically ensues, during which the applicant’s intentions and background are further examined. Success throughout this rigorous process can lead to being granted lawful permanent resident status, opening the door to a new life in the US.


Eligibility Requirements

Understanding the eligibility requirements is the first step to securing your US Green Card. Each pathway has distinct criteria.  


Family Sponsorship

Family ties can lead to permanent residency. The US allows citizens and permanent residents to sponsor relatives. Qualifying relatives include:

  • Spouses and unmarried children under 21 of U.S. citizens.
  • Unmarried children and siblings when the sponsor is 21+.
  • Married children and their families.
  • Parents of citizens 21+.



Skills and employment offer another route. Categories include:

  1. Priority workers: Including professionals with extraordinary abilities, professors, and researchers.
  2. Professionals holding advanced degrees or with exceptional ability.
  3. Skilled workers, professionals, and other workers.


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Diversity Visa Lottery

The Diversity Visa Lottery opens doors for immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration to the US. To enter, participants must:

  • Be from an eligible country.
  • Meet education or work experience requirements.
  • Submit an entry during the annual application window.


Application Process

Embarking on the journey to become a permanent resident of the United States starts with the application process. This critical phase involves meticulous documentation and precise steps to ensure a smooth progression towards securing a Green Card.  


Filing Form I-485

The cornerstone of adjusting your status to a lawful permanent resident is filing Form I-485, the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This form requires careful attention to every detail:
  • Complete all sections of the form accurately.
  • Attach evidence such as birth certificates, passport photos, and eligibility documents.
  • Pay the applicable fee, determined by age and immigration category.
  • Submit the application to the correct USCIS office.


Attending Biometrics Appointment

After submitting Form I-485, USCIS will schedule a biometrics appointment. This step involves:
  1. Receiving a notice with an appointment date from USCIS.
  2. Attending the appointment to provide fingerprints, a photograph, and a signature.
  3. Verifying your identity and conducting required background and security checks.


Interview With USCIS

The final hurdle in the application process is the interview with USCIS. Prepare with these tips:
  • Bring all original documents submitted with your I-485 form.
  • Practice responses to possible questions about your application.
  • Understand your answers must be truthful and consistent.
  • Expect to discuss your background, application details, and eligibility for a Green Card.

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Waiting Period

The ‘Waiting Period’ in the Green Card process is a crucial phase. It involves patience and an understanding of U.S. immigration procedures. During this time, applicants should monitor their status and be alert to changes that could affect their application.


Visa Bulletin Updates

The Visa Bulletin is vital for all Green Card hopefuls. It shows which priority dates are current. You must check it monthly. The Department of State publishes it. It tells you when you can apply for your Green Card.
  1. Visit the Department of State website.
  2. Find the latest Visa Bulletin.
  3. Match your priority date to the Bulletin dates.


Potential Delays

Sometimes, the Green Card process takes longer than expected. Delays can happen. They can be because of high demand for visas or administrative issues.
  • Visa quotas per country may cause delays.
  • Background checks may extend the waiting time.
  • Legal issues might slow down the process.
It is crucial to stay informed. Keep your contact information up to date with USCIS. This way, you won’t miss important updates on your case.


Benefits Of A Green Card

A Green Card is a ticket to a new life in the United States. Permanent residency, work authorization, and access to social services are some of the perks. Let’s dive into each benefit.


Work Authorization

Holding a Green Card removes work restrictions. No need for work visas or employer sponsorship. Choose any job in any field, including government and high-security positions exclusive to residents. Your career options widen, and job stability improves.


Permanent Residency

Live, study, or retire in the U.S. without time limits. Say goodbye to renewal applications or the fear of visa expiration. Your status is secure, and you can travel freely in and out of the country.


Access To Social Services

Benefit from social services like Public education and healthcare assistance. Apply for various federal grants and scholarships available only to residents. You’re also safeguarded with legal rights, such as the ability to sponsor relatives for their own Green Cards.  


Benefit Description
Work Opportunities Enter any industry without employer sponsorship.
Stable Residency Stay indefinitely and enjoy long-term stability.
Social Benefits Access public services and legal protections.
  • Family sponsorship becomes possible.
  • Eligible for certain government jobs.
  • Freedom to start a business or own property.
  1. Secure your family’s future with educational benefits.
  2. Contribute to politics through donations or voting rights.
  3. Path to U.S. citizenship


Maintaining Green Card Status

Once you successfully obtain a Green Card, the journey to permanent residency is not over. Holding onto that status is crucial. This section will explore the vital steps to ensure your Green Card remains valid.


Residency Requirements

Living in the United States is a requirement for maintaining your Green Card. You need to show you call the U.S. home. Here are key points to remember:
  • Physical Presence: Spend at least six months per year in the U.S.
  • Home Base: Have a permanent home address in the U.S.
  • File Taxes: Report your income to the IRS and state taxing authorities.
Not meeting these may signal you do not wish to live permanently in the U.S.


Avoiding Abandonment Of Status

It’s essential not to give any impression of abandoning your residency. To avoid this:
  • Limits on Travel: Long trips abroad can trigger concerns. Keep visits under six months when possible.
  • Re-Entry Permit: If needed, get a re-entry permit for trips longer than one year.
  • Stay Connected: Maintain ties through a job, property, or family in the U.S.


Securing a US Green Card is a significant milestone. Navigating the process requires diligence and patience. Remember, meticulous preparation paired with a thorough understanding of requirements is key. Take the necessary steps, and your American dream could soon be a reality. Ready to embark on this journey? Your Green Card awaits.

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