Immigrants who seek a green card in 2018 must meet several requirements in the application process to gain the document that provides for permanent resident status in the United States. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires immigrants seeking a green card– permanent residency– to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
The specific requirements for obtaining a green card vary based on particular situations. Just as in previous years, immigrants can apply for a green card through their families or a job offer or employment, by holding refugee or asylum status, or through a number of other special provisions. In some particular situations, immigrants or potential immigrants can even self-petition for a green card or have a record for permanent residency status created on their behalf. Regardless of an immigrant’s approach to the green card application process, immigrants must have:
- Eligibility for one of the immigrant categories established in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
- Approval of a qualifying immigrant petition filed (with a few exceptions)
- An immediately-available immigrant visa
- Admissibility to the United States
Just as the green card application process varies based on individual circumstances varies, so do the green card application costs. The green card application fee for Immigrants between the ages of 14 and 78 is $1,225. The fee for immigrants who are under age 14 and filing with a parent is $750. For those immigrants who are age 79 or older, the cost is $1,140. For refugees seeking a green card, there is no cost associated with the green card application.
While these costs for filing for a green card are straightforward, immigrants considering the green card application should note separate costs apply in filing an immigrant petition. The green card petition must be filed prior to or concurrently with the application for a green card.
USCIS classifies immigrants and potential immigrants based on a preference system that applies to specific categories. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens — along with some exceptions — receive the highest immigration priorities. However, immigrants who are categorized in other classifications must contend with finite visa number limits that are established by the U.S. Congress.