What is the Green Card process?
Applying for a green card can be overwhelming. We’re breaking down the 5 basics of the green card process that you should know in this post.
A Green Card is a U.S. document that allows someone without U.S. citizenship to legally work and live in the United States.
There are a few ways to go about getting a Green Card, such as through employment, marriage, or even investment Visa but the most common one is through the American Green Card lottery program.
Regardless of which category you fall in, there are a number of steps involved, which can last a few years. It can be a nerve-wracking experience, but being prepared can make it easier.
Here are 5 basic facts about the Green Card process:
1. PERM Labor Certification
If you thought getting a job in the U.S. was your ticket to a Green Card, think again.
There are several forms the government has to approve before giving the green light.
For example, your employer is required to prove there aren’t any U.S. citizens who are qualified to do the job you are being hired for.
This is the first step, known as PERM (Program Electronic Review Management). Your employer will have to provide a job description, prove they’ve looked for work within the U.S. and file an Application for Employment Certification.
2. Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140)
In this step, the government confirms the employee is eligible to work based on the information provided by the employer and verifies the employer is able to pay the employee based on the information given in the PERM application.
To speed up the Green Card process, you can choose the Request for Premium Processing Service. Although it costs an extra $1,225, the USCIS promises to review the form within 15 days.
3. Adjustment of Status (Form I-485)
The Adjustment of Status is the last step in the employment Green Card process.
The employee fills out the Form I-485, which is the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
In some instances, Form I-485 can be filed at the same time as Form I-140.
If the USCIS approves this form, the employee receives a stamp on his passport and, later, the official Green Card.
4. Getting Married
If you marry someone outside the U.S., he or she will need to go through the Green Card process, although the steps are different than applying for an employment green card.
The steps for a marriage Green Card differ slightly depending on whether your spouse is already living in the United States or is still overseas.
If you are both in the U.S., you will fill out the same application and petition forms and include any additional required documentation.
Once this paperwork is reviewed, the Green Card applicant is fingerprinted and has their photo taken. An interview is conducted with the couple is to ensure the authenticity of the marriage.
Many immigrants who get Green Cards through marriage find themselves in these situations. If a couple has been married less than two years, the Green Card is considered high risk, and the applicant has to re-submit his or her application again at the end of two years.
5. Green Card Lottery Process
Although the American Green Card Lottery signifies one of the most noble and open handed immigrant visa types, with up to 55,000 winners, it’s neither easy nor granted. Winning the DV Lottery program is only the primary stage in a long process.
The next crucial stage after winning the DV Lottery is the most important Consular Interview stage.
Prior to the scheduling of Consular Interview, the winner is required to complete the DS-260 Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application (DS-260 Form) and submit it online to the U.S. State Department’s Kentucky Consular Center (KCC).
Although it may seem like a complicated and lengthy process, there are several benefits of applying and obtaining your Green Card.
Take our Eligibility Test to check if you are eligible to start your Green Card process today!