January 13th, 2011 by Abby Keane
You need a Green Card but you don’t know how to go about it! Someone has suggested registering for the Green Card Lottery but you don’t know how it works! You are confused! If this is your present state – then you are at the right place reading the right article. How to apply for Green Card is one of the most fundamental questions to millions of immigrants in United States.
Before understanding how to apply for Green Card, let us check what a Green Card is. A Green Card is a photo identification card declaring permanent resident status of any non US citizen. The Green Card is carried by persons who are not US citizens but have been granted permission to legally live, work and study in USA. The card derived its name from its color as it was literally green till the 1977. The Green Card is technically known as Permanent Resident Card or Form I 551 which is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Who is eligible to apply for Green Card?
A foreigner living in US can apply for Green Card through a number of ways. The most common ways are applying through a family member or availing an employer sponsorship.
Irrespective of whether your employer or your family sponsors you for a Green Card, the process will usually take some years depending on the preference category determined by the USCIS and your country of origin.
How to apply for a Green Card through sponsorship?
If you are being sponsored by an employer, then he must employ you abiding the recruiting process of DOL (Department of Labor) standards. The employer must then file Form I 140 with the USCIS.
If you are being sponsored by your family member then the sponsorer must be a US citizen or a permanent card holder and should file Form I-130.
Once the petition has been filed, you would get a Visa Number in your category. Then, USCIS will assign a preference category based on the petition filed by your sponsor. You may check your Visa Category from USCIS’s Visa Bulletin. When the Visa Bulletin declares that your Visa Category is current, you can apply for Green Card with the relevant applications.
The relevant forms, Form I 485 and the Form G-325A which asks for the biographical information can be downloaded from the USCIS web site. The application should be attached with a Green Card medical report from an approved doctor, two passport-size photographs and the applicable fee.
Ensure that all the forms are completed and duly signed. Once verified it should be mailed to the right service center. Wait for an initial correspondence from the USCIS. Once your application is approved you will be asked to take your fingerprints. Once this formality is complete wait till a background check is conducted and the application process is completed.
Once your application is approved, you will get a “welcome notice” followed by your much-awaited Green Card through mail.