US Permanent Residence - How To Get a US Green Card

If you are interested in moving to the United States permanently, read the information we have provided below to learn more about how you can get a Green Card!

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USCIS Offices are now open to the public!

  • All permanent resident/green card applications are still being accepted and processed, although this process is taking longer than usual due to the spread of COVID-19.
  • Do not travel if you are sick, or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Do not travel with someone who is sick.
  • Stay home for 14 days from the time you returned home from international travel.
  • Do not go to work or school for a full 14 days.
  • Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares for a full 14 days.
 

For more updates on the Coronavirus, visit our page on how the Coronavirus will affect US immigration.

Flag Icon US Green Cards

Thousands of foreign nationals are making the decision to permanently make the move to the United States and actively exploring their options to do so. When applying for US permanent residency, you will be completing a US Green Card application which is proof that the holder is a lawful permanent resident.

The two most common ways to get a Green Card would be through the following two methods:

US Green Card Eligibilty

To qualify for a Green Card you must be eligible under one of the categories that allow immigrants to become Permanent Residents. Once you find the category that fits your situation, you will need to get information on eligibility requirements and how to apply through that category. Find the eligible categories below.

How to Apply for a US Green Card

The steps you must take to apply for a Green Card will vary depending on your individual situation. When you are applying for a US Green Card to become a Permanent Resident there are two main questions:
1. Are you eligible to apply for permanent residency?
2. Are you inside or outside the United States?

US Green Card Processing Times

You can expect the processing time for permanent residence to be more lengthy than most other visas. According to USCIS, an application for permanent residence (Form I-485) will take anywhere from 6 months to 33 months to process.

Related Article: US Visa Processing Times for 2021

Documents Required

Depending on the category you are applying under for a Green Card your required documents will vary. If you are applying through family you will need your family to show proof of support. If you are applying through Employment you will need your employment proof. Contact an immigration consultant to help organize your required documents.

Family-Based Green Cards

Family Sponsorship is for family members who are either immediate or first preference relatives to a US Citizen. Family reunification is important to many people and this is the perfect opportunity for a US citizen to petition for their spouse, children, parents, grandparents, and sometimes siblings.

Employment-Based Green Cards

Employment-Based Green Cards are the best option for anyone looking to settle in the United States based on their work experience and skills prior to immigrating. There are 5 categories of employment-based green cards which are also referred to as EB visas. These categories include:

  1. EB-1 Visa for Priority Workers
  2. EB-2 Visa for Advanced Degree Professionals
  3. EB-3 Visa for Skilled and Unskilled Workers 
  4. EB-4 Visa for Special Immigrants
  5. EB-5 Visa for Investors

Diversity Visa Program | Green Card Lottery

If you are lucky, you may be chosen to apply for a US Green Card through the Diversity Lottery. Through the Diversity Visa Program, 50,000 immigrants are invited each year to recieve a Green Card and start a new life in the United States. These 50,000 foreign nationals are those coming from countries with low immigration rates to the US. 

Refugee or Asylum Status

Another important pathway is for those seeking refugee or asylum status for those experiencing life-threatening circumstances in their home country. Individuals granted asylum can apply for a green card after one year of residence in the US. Long-time resident non-citizens may escape deportation proceedings and apply for a green card if they can prove their removal from the country would cause severe hardship to another US citizen or permanent resident.

How to Renew or Replace a US Green Card

To renew or replace your US Green Card, you would need to file Form I-90 with the USCIS. The average Green Card is good for ten years, although some may only be valid for two which is considered a conditional Green Card. Those who obtain a conditional green card have the option to convert it to a 10-year green card. which is a procedure called “removal of conditions on residency.”

Benefits of a US Green

The benefits to obtaining a US green card include:

  1. option to apply for US Citizenship in 3 to 5 years
  2. your status can not be revoked and you are protected from deportation
  3. you don't have to renounce citizenship from your country of origin
  4. you are protected by US laws
  5. you can sponsor other family members for a green card
  6. its easier to travel to and from the United States
  7. you can renew your green card status every 10 years
  8. you can travel and live anywhere in the United States
  9. you are eligible for federal benefits (social security & education)
  10. broader variety of jobs
  11. allowed to engage in political processes

US Green Card Refusal

Some of the top reasons why someone who meets the eligibility requirements for a US green card include:

  • self error
  • concerns that you are a security risk
  • inadmissibility for health or criminal activity,
  • finding that you are likely to become reliant on government assistance, plus more.

In most cases, you cannot appeal a green card refusal which is why it's vital to receive help from an immigration professional to ensure it is completed completely and correctly. If the law allows you to appeal, you can ask USCIS's Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) to look at your application and see if an immigration officer wrongly denied your petition.

Flag Icon Green Card Eligibility Categories

To apply for a US Green Card, you must be eligible under one of the following categories below. Once you find the category that may fit your specific case, click to learn more information on eligibility requirements, how to apply, and whether your family members can also apply with you!

Green Card for Abuse Victims

Flag Icon Green Card Interview

When you are applying for a US Green Card you will need to go through an interview. This interview will have a series of questions that you will be assessed on. You must pass the Green Card Interview to qualify to become a Permanent Resident. 

Related Article:  Preparing for Your Green Card Interview

US Permanent Residency is a suer sought-after status  which is why we suggest taking advantage of professional immigration help to ensure you put forth the best application possible. VisaPlace has helped thousands of individuals successfully obtain a US green card through family sponsorship, employment, and beyond. Book a consultation to get started so we can help you too!