Applying for a US Green Card

A green card is the legal proof that a person is permitted permanent residency in the United States.  Aside from that, the person will be allowed to work in the United States and to travel outside the US for a limited time.  The green card holder may also petition for a green card application for his or her spouse and children.  After some time and upon meeting the requirements, he or she may also be eligible to apply for US citizenship.

Eligibility requirements for a green card

*  You must submit the Application to Register Permanent Residence (Form I-485).
*  If you are between 14 and 79 years old, fill out the Biographic Data Sheet (Form G-325A).
*  If required, fill out the Medical Examination Sheet (Form I-693).
*  Submit two colored photos that are not older than 30 days (Form I-485 has the requirements).
*  If necessary, your sponsor should fill out the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864).
*  If you are looking for employment while submitting your application, fill out the Authorization of Employment (Form I-765).
*  Submit the Arrival Departure Record (Form I-194).
*  Pay the required fees (see Form I-485 Supplement A for more information).

5 steps in applying for a green card

Step 1:  Determine your eligibility.

You may apply for a green card if you are the spouse or the child of a green card holder.  If you have a job or investment that is of value to the United States, you may also apply for permanent residency.  Those who have been staying in the US since 1972 may also apply for a green card.

NOTE:  Not everyone who is allowed to stay or work in the US is eligible for a green card application.  You must have stayed in the US for at least five years (three years if you are married to a US citizen).

Step 2:  Get an Immigrant Visa.

Before you get a green card, you should have an immigrant visa number.  This is only issued once your visa application has been approved.  Depending on your eligibility, you may apply for a spouse, employment, or a special visa.  The basic requirement for the visa application is the presence of a sponsor who is a US citizen or entity.

NOTE:  The procedure for each visa application varies.

Step 3:  Prepare all of the eligibility requirements.

Fill out the required forms including the Application to Register Permanent Residence.  You must also prepare the documents that prove your eligibility for a US green card.

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Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fstorr/5502616867/

Step 4:  Apply for Permanent Residency Status.

Submit the requirements to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.  While your application is being evaluated, you will be required to show up at an USCIS office to answer some questions about your application.

NOTE:  If you application has been denied, you may follow the procedures for filing an appeal.

Step 5:  Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.

Depending on the reason for your eligibility, your green card may be issued on conditional status.  You will need to submit the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (Form I-751) to lift these conditions within 90 days before your two-year conditional green card expires.

NOTE:  Failure to do this will get you into trouble with the US Immigrations.

There are various ways to get a green card, and the most common of these are through family-based immigration and through employment.  However, even though you have an immediate relative or an employer in the US, this is still not a guarantee to your green card approval.

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