Understanding the Process Behind Getting a Green Card in the U.S.

Understanding the Process Behind Getting a Green Card in the U.S.

A person with a green card can live and work in the United States without restrictions and it offers much more freedom than a visa. The process of obtaining a green card carries complications.

Follow along as we walk you through some of the most important points of the process.

Gathering Proper Green Card Documentation

When seeking a green card, you can expect to present several forms of identification and documentation. These are common with immigrant visas, document processing, or status adjustments. The waiting time for approval can be months or years.

Special Programs to Consider

Special programs, including the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, provide up to 50,000 visas each year through a lottery system. In the United States, the Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery gives foreigners from countries with low immigration rates the opportunity to join a lottery for the potential to get an immigrant visa. The Diversity Visa Lottery Program in the United States allows up to 40,000 immigrant visas each year.

Avoiding Potential Delays in Processing

While delays are inevitable in U.S. immigration applications, there are steps you can take to avoid the worst of them. For example, check your green card status, bring a foreign spouse who lives in the United States already, get all the documents you need to travel to the United States, find out how to enter the diversity visa lottery, and check your results.

Delays are likely as things reopen and as the US government works its way through the backlog of applications. A process such as downgrading from eb2 to eb3 may cause more delays.

What to Expect When Seeking Naturalization

The naturalization process is a legal process that allows a foreigner to become a U.S. citizen if he or she meets the legal criteria. Naturalization provides a pathway to citizenship for people who were not born in certain countries and offers many benefits, including the ability to vote, bring family members to the US, the need to renew the green card, and much more.

Marriage is the most common method of naturalization. Marriage must occur for genuine reasons and not for immigration purposes. The intention is the key subject here.

Additionally, green card holders have the right to apply for US citizenship. They must show evidence that they have been in the United States for at least five years. They also must show that they are a person of good moral character, among other criteria.

What About Children?

Children have a right to green cards if they have relations to a US citizen. If a green cardholder has a married child, they can apply for legal permanent residency for the child, regardless of nationality. Unmarried children under the age of 21, adopted children, stepchildren, and spouses may receive green cards at the same time as the applicant.

Special immigrants and adolescents, as well as children of abused, abandoned, or neglected parents who have special juvenile immigration status, can also apply for green cards.

Wrapping Up and Moving Forward

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when applying for a green card. If you need help with any step of the process or a similar subject, check out more in our Education section.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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