If you are wondering about how to get a green card in the USA you need to know it all from the scratch what the green card is all about, how it helps and in what matters and how to obtain it.
A green card in the USA is a United States permanent residence card previously known as an alien registration card. The identification card is informally known as a green card; however, the color only changed to green in May 2010. It is the process of becoming a permanent resident of the USA and to live and own property and engage in various legal activities as per the needs.
The issue about how to get a green card in the USA remains a budding question in the minds of many for there seems to be a complex process. But with the right steps and procedures, it is a simple one.
Green card holders, or say, the permanent residents of the United States of America above the age of 18 are supposed to carry their green cards at all times failing to abide by this rule might result in a fine of about $100, it can also be accompanied by or substituted by 30 days of imprisonment for the offense.
What Does It Contain
Since one would want to know how to get a green card in the USA, it is important to learn about the components it contains in terms of information. Most of the information on the green card is self explanatory; however it is better to know the bases.
- The first line of the green card contains the information in format ‘C1’ and ‘C2’. C1 means the person is a resident within the USA, and C2 means the person is a permanent resident commuter (he/she lives in Canada and, or Mexico). The next part of the first line is ‘USA’ which indicates the issuing authority. The next component is a 9 digit alien number followed by an application number. The next thing which comes is an immigrant case number which is only issued once the application for green card is approved.
- The second line contains the birth date (the format is YYMMDD) of the applicant, followed by check digit and then the gender of the person. After the gender is mentioned on the green card, expiration date of the green card (YYMMDD format). The next thing to come is the country of birth of the applicant followed by cumulative check digit.
- The third line of the green card contains the surname of the person, the given name and the middle name; followed by the first initial of the father and first initial of the mother (the line spacing is done by ‘<<’). If the names are too long of the father and the mother, some of their initials may be exuded.
- After May 11th 2010 the green card contains an RFID chip which can be electronically accessed.
What are the types of immigration?
The fact that it is often wondered about how to get a green card in the USA, it is important to know about the ‘How’ part as the basic one. It is essential to know the types of immigrations which take place and get the chance to apply for the USA residence (green card).
- The immigration could take place through a family member (direct relationship with the person applying) who is already a USA resident and a green card holder.
- If you have made an investment in the United States of America for an amount ranging from $0.5 million to $1 million.
- Immigration could take place though employment (this way the green card process becomes simpler many times since the organization is sponsoring the green card).
- The green card is issued if the application is approved by the Director of Central intelligence validating the reasons whatsoever.
- If you have won the green card lottery, you would be eligible to receive USA’s permanent citizenship (green card).
- If you apply for an asylum in the United States of America, you will be eligible to receive the citizenship and thus the green card. You could also be eligible for this if you are a refugee at the USA.
Green Card Procedures
In order to fully understand how to get a green card in the USA, it is also imperative to understand the procedure of getting a green card in the USA. Although each category of the gr5een card has different specifications and process of application, some of the general processes are common in all.
1. Eligibility of Green Card
It is determined first and foremost if the applicant is eligible for the green card or not. This would be done by analyzing and reviewing the documents and details of the individual which he/she would have been submitted before applying for the green card.
2. Consular Processing
This is the method used by immigrants to get their green cards when t they would be outside the United States of America. This would also be done in the phase when they would be trying to get their adjust status in USA. This is a method alternative to adjustment of status but requires the completion of the immigration petition.
3. Adjustment of Status
The adjustment of status from an immigrant to a permanent resident is the process by which the immigrants get a hold of their green card in the USA. This would be done while they would be residing in the United States of America and is an important step to know when thinking of how to get a green card in the USA.
4. Concurrent Filing
There is a petition filed by the person applying for their green card either through the means of employment, or through family relationships. There is a petition filed by the applicant and concurrent filing is when the immigration petition filing and application submission for green card happens at the same time.
5. Visa availability dates
In some cases visas are in a short number, while generally visas are available for a person when they apply for the green card. With the limited number of visas, the time and date needs to be thus the priority dates are given to the immigrants who are lined up in waiting for the green card.
These and the travel documentations, employee authorization documents, immigration medical examinations, and child status protection acts are all to be considered in great detail when thinking of how to get a green card in the USA.
Those eligible for Green Card
The eligibility criteria depends on the source you’re applying through for the green card in the USA, following are the details pertaining to it to get a clear idea about how to get a green card in the USA:
1. Applying through a family member (U.S Citizen)
A USA citizen can sponsor its family members for green card citizenship and they aren’t to worry much about how to get a green card in the USA as the process involves simple steps and time duration is usually set. The following are the family members eligible for green card application through a family member:
- The spouse of the citizen of USA
- A child who is unmarried and under the age of 21 years
- A stepchild who is unmarried and under the age of 21 years
- An adopted child under the age of 18 years
- One of the parents or both
- Step parents
- An unmarried daughter or a son above the age of 21 years
- A son or daughter, married (of any age)
2. Applying through family member (Green Card holder)
There are some limitations on which family member a green card holder can sponsor for a green card in USA. To know how to get a green card in the USA for family members as a green card holder compared to a U.S citizen:
- The spouse
- The unmarried child of the green card holder under the age of 21 years
- An unmarried stepchild under the age of 21 years
- An adopted child under the age of 18 years
- Unmarried daughter or son above the age of 21
3. Applying through employment (Second preference with NIW- National Interest Waiver)
- The advanced degree professionals who would be involved in activities which would greatly benefit the US national interest and society would not have to worry about how to get a green card in the USA as the process is made much easy for them
- The people who have exceptional abilities and not even that but would also be beneficial to the US national interest through their activities
4. Applying through employment (First preference)
These are the individuals who would be preferred before anyone else when the question about how to get a green card in the USA is popped and it comes to green card application acceptance in USA:
- Outstanding researchers and professors
- People with extraordinary abilities
- The top management employees of MNCs
5. Applying through employment (Second Preference)
These are the ones who would be considered after the first preference individuals when applications for green card are analyzed:
- People with exceptional abilities
- The advanced degree professionals
- Exceptional researchers and professors
And thus they would be getting a detailed document about how to get a green card in the USA and their document needs.
6. Applying through adoption
The adopted children by the US citizens or the green card holders do not need to be concerned about how to get a green card in the USA as they can receive a green card if they are under the age of sixteen years. Applying through employment (Third preference)
- The professional possessing a bachelor’s degree from the US or a foreign degree equivalent to it
- Unskilled and skilled workers
7. Appling through the Schedule A
- People who are qualified to work in the occupations listed in the Schedule A list
- The nurses (registered) and the physical therapists are the ones eligible for green card and are not subject to complex processes making them wonder how to get a green card in the USA.
8. Applying through Green Card Lottery
The green card lottery is conducted by the US department of state and the winners of it are eligible to be the green card holders in the US and the process has its own requirements to be known so to avoid the confusion of how to get a green card in the USA.
9. Applying through investments in the US
The investors are eligible to be green card holders in the US.
- The foreign investors who make an investment of minimum $500,000 in a commercial setup in an area which targets employment so that the investment would benefit the US economy by opening doors of employments (for up to 5 years at least)
- The foreign entrepreneurs who make an investment of $1,000,000 and that too in commercial enterprise(s) so that may benefit the economy of US and create jobs for about 10 years (full time)
10. Applying through registry
The people who have resided in the United States of America since January 01st 1971 (continuous residence) are automatically eligible to apply for the green card.
11. Applying as a Refugee
The people who have been displaced as a result of a war, civil unrest, are afraid of being prosecuted or have been out of their homeland due to a famine; do not have to worry about how to get a green card in the USA, for these foreign nationals can apply as a refugee in the USA through a detailed yet easy procedure.
12. Applying through diplomacy
The high level diplomats who have an A-1 visa and are unable to return to their homeland (or are unwilling to do so due to prosecution or fear of such) do not have to worry about how to get a green card in the USA since they can apply for the green card in simple steps.
13. Applying through asylum
People seeking for asylum in the United States of America (the foreign nationals) are also the ones who do not have to worry about how to get a green card in the USA since the ones who cannot return to their homeland due to any of the fears (of prosecution due to religion, politics, etc.) are welcomed in the USA and can get a green card.
14. Applying as a Special Immigrant
The special immigrant category is yet another one often questioning how to get a green card in the USA. These are the ones listed below:
- Employees of the US government which have previously served
- Religious workers
- Former employees of Panama Canal Zone
- The retired employees and officials of international organizations
- US consulate in Hong Kong’s former employees
- US armed forces’ former employees
- The employees of any of the international broadcasting companies
- Medical graduates
- Agricultural workers (special)
- The abused family members (spouse and children) of US citizens or US green card holders
- The permanent residents of the USA who have departed for more than one year
- The children of a foreign country who have been declared as dependent in the juvenile courts of USA
- The spouse of a SN-1 visa holder
- Retired NATO-6 civilian
- The children of a SN-1 visa holder
- The spouse of a NATO-6 civilian employee (deceased)
- The spouse and child of a BC-1 visa holder
How to get a green card in the USA
If you are wondering about how to get a green card in the USA and whether or not it is a complex procedure as per your situation or the passage you are applying through, there is a lot to learn about the process itself.
The people who wish to apply for and receive a green card are supposed to be a resident of the United States of America and that to in a lawful manner so to be eligible to apply for the green card. However, if a person marries a US citizen then the time period is reduced to three years of residency in the USA to attain naturalization or United States Citizenship.
The application of green card are submitted 90 days prior to the completion of the residency period in the United States of America. The citizens of the USA are entitled to a lot more rights than those of them who are the permanent residents of the USA and not green card holders; also, the citizens are entitled to more legal obligations as compared to their resident counterparts, such as that to vote, be able to be elected in elections (federal and state) and the naturalized citizens are eligible to run for presidential elections under the constitution’s article II. The citizens are also allowed to sponsor their family members and also apply for federal jobs. Tax payment is one of the fundamental responsibility being a citizen of the United States of America.
The time duration is reduced to 1 year for the refugees and those seeking asylum in the United States of America who are applying for the green card; thus making it simpler for the ones in distress questioning about how to get a green card in the USA.
Once you get to know you are eligible for the green card application process, the time is not to ponder over how to get a green card in the USA but get into action.
Filing of I-485 Form
Once you know you are eligible, the next step is to file the I-485 form. Applications are to be submitted to the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) to register for permanent residence and adjustment of status. This would be done by submission of all the necessary documents and the application fees associated with the process. He documents include vital records, court orders, educational documents etc
Once your application is under review and analyzed, the USCIS would schedule interview with you to further review your application in detail thus resulting in the decision made about whether to accept or reject the application for green card. Once the interview is cleared, that is the final step and the green card is granted to the applicant for citizenship in the United States of America.
Once you get your green card, the validity of the green card is for 10 years.
The green card story isn’t all about how to get a green card in the USA, rather it takes further matters into consideration such as expiry of the green card. The green card holders are supposed to get their green cards renewed if the current card they are holding has expired or will expire in the next 6 months. Also if the green card is lost or stolen, the citizens are supposed to report it and get or replaced as soon as possible.
The green card is issued easily to the applicants once the necessary documents are submitted, interviews are conducted and applications are reviewed. For people with complex court records or a political influence, acquisition of green card may include a detailed and process and scrutiny. Once there, you are entitled to the rights and responsibilities of a US citizens without fail.