Obtaining a green card can be quite confusing, regardless of what language you speak. In this article, we’ve listed the steps to obtaining your green card in simple terms to help you better understand the process.
1. Determine your eligibility.
The first step in obtaining your green card is to determine whether or not you’re eligible to apply for a green card. You need to find out if you fall into one of the following categories:
- Sponsored by a relative living in the United States
- Sponsored by a company based in the United States
- Granted asylum in the United States
- Granted refugee status in the United States
- Granted a green card as a “special” immigrant
- Granted a green card as an abuse victim
- Granted a green card through registry
- Granted a green card through other green card eligibility categories
2. File an immigrant petition.
The second step is to have someone file an immigrant petition for you (e.g. a relative or a company) to be able to apply and register for permanent resident or an adjusted status with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In some cases, you may also file your own immigrant petition with the help of an immigration attorney.
3. Approval of the immigrant petition.
The USCIS must approve the immigrant petition. To move to the next step of obtaining your green card, there must also be a visa available in the category you’re applying for.
4. File an application to register for permanent residence or adjusted status.
The next step is to determine which application process you should go through to obtain your green card. If you’re already in the United States, you should speak with an immigration attorney to see if you are eligible to file for an adjustment of status within the U.S. or if you will need to go to the consulate in your home country. If you are currently outside the United States, you need to file an application to register for permanent residence via consular processing.
5. You will receive an appointment for biometrics.
You will receive a biometrics appointment via the mail. The letter will indicate the appointment date, time, and location. At the appointment, your fingerprints, photo, and signature will be taken. You will provide information to confirm your identity and go through a background check.
6. If you are able to Adjust Status in the U.S., you will have an interview with the USCIS.
After your application has been reviewed and your biometrics have been taken, you will have an interview with the USCIS. This step is just to get more more information for your application. You won’t typically receive an approval or denial of your application at the interview itself.
6a. Your green card will be issued.
After completing your interview with the USCIS and receiving approval, your green card will be issued to you.
7. If you are obtaining your green card through the consular process, you will have an interview at the local designated consulate in your home country.
After your application has been reviewed and your biometrics have been taken, you will have an interview at the U.S. Consulate. This step is just to get more more information for your application. You won’t typically receive an approval or denial of your application at the interview itself. You will have to continue to wait in your home country until the U.S. Consulate sends you your approval packet to enter the U.S.
Obtaining a green card can be physically and mentally draining, and we recommend getting assistance from an experienced immigration attorney. Having a professional help you with your application can really speed up the process. Contact our team at (956) 412-0707 to determine how we can assist you in obtaining your green card.