Green Card Eligibility
The top categories of Green Card eligibility are usually established through family, employment, or asylum status. Some people may also be eligible if they are a victim of human trafficking, abused, or through a few other specific categories (Eligibility categories). Most categories require a sponsor, someone who is already a US citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident and residing in the United States.
How to apply
Applying for any kind of citizenship status can include a lot of red tape. If you are outside the US, your first stop should be to a US consulate to apply once you’ve determined your eligibility. The USCIS (The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) will make a determination if you can move forward with your application. You will be given an appointment time for an interview.
If you are within the United States, start with the Adjustment of Status page on the USCIS website to determine your best path forward.
If anything changes from your original application, such as marital status, address, or if you were under 21 at the time of the application, but are now 21, you must contact the NVC (National Visa Center) to alert them of these changes.
TIP: Make sure you do your research before any appointment to be sure that you have all of the required forms and have completed all of the necessary steps. Missing just one document can potentially delay your process by weeks or months, or even result in denial of your Green Card.
When a Green Card is Issued
You may think you’ve won the lottery when your Green Card packet arrives, but there are still a few more steps that you must complete. Firstly, do NOT open the “Visa Packet.” Once you’ve received your packet, you must pay the USCIS immigrant fee. Your packet will be given to customs agents upon your arrival to the United States, who will then make the final determination whether you will be admitted to the US as a lawful permanent resident, able to live and work here.
Generally, you will receive your actual Green Card within 45 days of your arrival into the United States by mail. If you do not receive it within that time, reach out to the USCIS Contact Center.
How Our Firm Can Help
As you can see, there is a lot of bureaucratic paperwork involved in the visa process, and one mistake could delay or even ruin your chances of getting a Green Card. It is in your best interest to seek the help of an experienced lawyer to help smooth the process and ensure that all guidelines are followed and requirements are met. While we cannot guarantee that you will be granted a Green Card, we can ensure that every effort is made to apply through the process correctly. We can also advocate for you, and help you find avenues to pursue if your Green Card application is denied. Whatever the outcome, our team is here to help.