Whether you are currently in the United States or you would like to move here, obtaining legal permanent residency in the United States (also known as getting a “green card”) is a great option. Green cards grant you many rights and can help provide you and your family the stability you desire. If you are looking to obtain a green card, you will need to go through the following process:
Determine Your Category
Those seeking a green card are broken up into three main categories. The specific process that you need to follow will depend largely on which of the categories you fall into, so the first step is to make that determination. The categories are:
- Family Member – If you have a relative who is a US Citizen, they can sponsor you to get a green card. This applies to spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, parents of US citizens over the age of 21, and certain others.
- Employer – If you are working in the United States or are getting job offers in the states, you may be able to get a green card. You can also get a green card if you are looking to open or expand a business into the United States.
- Refugee – Refugees and those seeking asylum from their native country can qualify for a green card. This can also apply if you are an immediate family member of an asylee.
File a Petition
The next step is to file a petition to request the green card. Depending on the category you fall into above, the petition will need to be filled out by either your family member, your employer, or yourself. There are quite a few different forms available to submit the petition, and the specific one you need to use will be based on your exact situation. It is important to use the right forms or your request could be delayed or denied. This is why it is important to get the help of an experienced immigration attorney throughout this process.
Check on Availability
After you have filed the initial petition, you should look into the visa availability in the category for which you fall. For immediate family members, there are an unlimited number of green cards available. For other categories, the number is limited each year. When you apply, you will be put on a list and given access to check your place in the queue. Once your name is at the top of the list, you will go through the rest of the green card process.
Completing Your “Green Card” Process
Once your name is at the top of the list, the rest of the process can go surprisingly quickly as long as you are ready with everything you need. If you are adjusting your status in the United States, you will have to go to an Application Support Center and get all your biometrics taken, which includes fingerprints, picture, signature documentation, and more. You may also have to be interviewed at the USCIS office to ensure everything is in order. Finally, the USCIS will review all your information and let you know whether your application has been approved or denied. If approved, you’ll get your green card. If denied, you can always appeal the decision and try to fix any problems that exist.
We’re Here to Help
We have helped many people with obtaining legal residency. If you or a loved one is looking to obtain a green card, please contact Sussman Law Firm to get this important process started. Even if you already started on your own, we can always step in and assist the rest of the way.