If you want to live and work in the United States of America permanently, you will need to apply for and obtain what’s known as a green card or permanent resident card. While the process for this can seem overwhelming, if you take it one step at a time, it is much more manageable.
In this blog post, we have briefly outlined the process of getting a green card. We hope this information is helpful to anyone wishing to become a resident of the United States.
Step 1: Eligibility
The first step in this card process is determining whether or not you are even eligible for a green card. These are just a few examples of the scenarios that can qualify you to apply for and receive a permanent resident card:
- Sponsorship by a family member currently a US resident
- As a victim of abuse, crime, or human trafficking
- Through refugee or asylum status
- Sponsorship by a US company
Step 2: Immigrant Petition
If you determine that you are eligible for a green card, you will need to file an application called an immigrant petition or have one filed on your behalf. Your family member or company can file this petition for you.
The immigrant petition must be approved before you can move on to the next step in the process.
Step 3: Application to Register Permanent Residence
There are two options at this point in the process. If you are currently living in the United States, you will need to file for an adjustment of your status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you are not in the US, you will file an application to register permanent residence.
Step 4: Application Review
USCIS will carefully review your application. This step can take anywhere from a few months to a year. The following steps, biometrics appointment and USCIS interview, are considered part of the application review process.
Step 5: Biometrics Appointment
You can expect to receive a notice via mail that will contain information about your biometrics appointment. It will include a date, time, and location. At this appointment, you will have your photo, fingerprints, and signature taken. This data is used to perform a comprehensive background check.
Step 6: USCIS Interview
The final step in the green card process is an interview with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Interview questions will depend on your unique situation and reasoning for wanting to live in the United States. Some applicants will learn of their approval or denial at the interview, while others will have to wait to hear back from the agency. The USCIS has no time limit in which it has to approve or deny your residency application.
After completing these six steps, if you are approved, your green card will then be issued. On average, around 80% of applicants get approved, even though the process can be complex and time-consuming. If you decide to apply, we wish you the best of luck!