How to apply for a Green Card?

For a lot of people, application for an immigration visa, i.e. Legal Permanent Residence is the initial step in the direction of being settling permanently in the United States of America. You can take the below mentioned three different tracks for getting a validated Green Card, i.e. either through a Green Card Lottery, your work or through a family member.

Where to apply for a Green Card?

The immigrant visa for the US, or the green card, can be applied through a number of options in order to become a permanent resident of the United States of America.  Generally, all the green card applications are processed by sending it to USCIS (the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services). After the approval by USCIS, the applicant of Green Card is invited to the US embassy to complete all the consular processing in his home country. Since the year 2004, all the Green Card application procedure need to be completed online.

There are 3 main Green Card classifications:

  • Green card  through winning  a Lottery, i.e. Diversity Visa Program
  • Immigration through work, i.e. Employment-based
  • Immigration through a family unification, i.e. Family-based category

The application process, Admission requirements, waiting time, the responsible authority, and total cost vary according to the category of Green Card application. The initial step is the identification of the Green Card category applicable to you. It can be having any relative in the US, a work opportunity or having an idea for ant new venture in the United States of America. Well, participating in a Green Card Lottery is undoubtedly the easiest way of entering the United States.

Green Card through a Green Card Lottery

One of the simplest method of getting a Green Card is via the Green Card Lottery. The United States Department of a State provides 55,000 Green Cards through Diversity Visa Program every single year. With a sheer amount of luck needed, this procedure opens the path for people looking forward to making their dream of settling in the US come true.

Getting the highly coveted resident permit through Green Card Lottery is extremely easy. All you need to do is to apply for participating in the lottery process taking every single year.

Some tips for visa application under this category:

  • Any Spouse or unmarried children under the 21 years of age automatically receives a Green Card when included in the application procedure.
  • Spouse of a winner in the same-sex marriage receives a Green Card automatically if the marriage is under legal US law.

 Green Card through work/ job

There are few visa options for people seeking work in the US. The visa requirement varies according to the work type and certain other conditions. Every case should be individually evaluated. Certain Crucial factors decide the work visa including the citizenship, qualifications, and planned length of the stay and the affiliated company. A non-immigrant visa issued for some temporary work in the US is the most common.

You are eligible for a Green Card through job in certain cases including:

  • Getting a very specific job in which only a few Americans can fill the requirements. The employer need to fill the application with the USCIS and Department of Labor to carry- forward the application process
  • Entrepreneur and an investors can get Green Card for the creation of any new jobs in the US
  • Certain immigrant visa category enable a self-petition.
  • Applicants qualifying for a very specific job category are also eligible to apply for Green Card. The jobs include translator of Afghan/Iraqi, international employee of an organization, religious workers and more.

Green Card through a Family member

The age-old foundation of Green Card program is to make sure that the family stays together when a family member settles in the US. An Immediate relatives or one marrying a Green Card holder qualify for Green Card application. Every individual case subject to the category limitations.

Relative of a Green Card holder in US

Any Immediate family member of Green Card holder holds the right to move to the US. Not only the US citizen, but also the Green Card holder, i.e. Permanent Residents having the right, as per US immigration law, for filing an application to bring any family member to the US through Green Card. There are certain restrictions attached to these immigration process.

The US immigration law allows the family members of a Green Card holder for a Green Card application, including:

  • Spouse of a Green Card holder

People marrying a Green Card holder allowing to emigrate in case of a legal marriage and not a case of sham marriage.

A Spouses is included in the 2nd Preference Category under subsection F2A.

Any unmarried child of a Green Card holder who is under 21 years of age.

For keeping up with the immigration quotas every year, there is a difference between unmarried children and those over the 21 years of age.

Unmarried children of a Green Card holder over the 21 years of age

Child of a Green Card holder who is unmarried and over the 21 years of age unfortunately need to wait for the Green Card as these children are included in Second Preference Category, under subsection F2B.

Relatives/Spouse of a US Citizen

With certain situations, US citizens is allowed to file an immigrant visa application for the immediate relative. The immigration law of US allows different family members of a US citizen to apply for immigration visa or Green Card:

Immediate relatives of the US citizen includes, Spouse, Unmarried children under 21 years of age, or the Parents of the US citizen (in case where the US petitioner is over 21)

Other Close Family Members include, Unmarried children over 21 years of age (First Preference), Married children over 21 years of age (Third Preference), sister or Brother (Fourth Preference)

Green card holder applying for green card for a relative

For applying for an immigrant visa through any family member having the Green Card involves the following steps:

  • Step 1 is to file the Application for Green Card, i.e. I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with USCIS (the US Citizenship and Immigration Services). In such case, main applicant is the Green Card holder or U.S. citizen, petitioning for his relative.
  • It is important to provide all the documents including birth certificate, family relationship proof, and more. How quickly USCIS routes your application hinges on green card holder relationship with the respective family member.
  • USCIS supports the visa application after getting convinced about the authenticity of the family relationship.
  • A citizen of US living for at least 1 year outside the USA is allowed to file the application petition with the respective US consulate in the specific country he is living in.
  • After the authorization of the application by the USCIS, the applicant or the foreign relative gets notified with the consular processing. If the relative is already in the US having the non-immigrant visa, the visa can be altered to permanent  under the procedure of procedure of adjustment of status.

All sort of additional information concerning the waiting period for various visa types can be referred in the Visa Bulletin, released every month. The US authority post everything related to immigrant and non-immigrant visa application information. A visa becomes available for the candidate after a c (i.e. current) in the specific visa category. Also, a cut-off date is given, if the applicant’s visa is no longer available in that category.  Priority date is known as the date when the petition gets properly filed with the USCIS.