Green Card Application Guide
A Permanent Resident Card or Green Card is the proof that you are authorized to work and live on a permanent basis in the United States. That’s why today, permanent U.S. residents aged 18 or older are required to always carry their U.S. Green Card with them.
There are many paths to get your permanent resident card, you can either get it after you got a job offer in the United States, applying for asylum, or after a family member legally living in the U.S has filed a family based Green Card application for you.
In order to apply for a permanent residency in the US, you must meet certain requirements. Here is a guide that will help you fin the best path for you.
How to check your eligibility for a Green Card application
Before you start with the process you have to determine if you are eligible for the green card. The eligibility requirements needed before applying for it are:
- Having a qualifying immigrant petition filed and approved.
- Having an immigrant visa that is available.
- Being admissible to the United States
Know right process for your permanent resident application
Depending on your current situation, you can either go for an adjustment of status process or consultar processing.
Adjustment of Status
This is the process that you can use in order to apply for a green card when you are present in the United States. This means that there is a chance that you get a Green Card without having to return to your country to complete the visa process.
Note: If you are outside of the United States, you must get your visa abroad through a process called consular processing.
This is the method immigrants use to get their Green Card when they are outside the United States or when they are not eligible to adjust their status in the United States.
When you are getting a Green Card through family, employment or as a special immigrant, you will probably need to have a petition (form I-130) filed for you.
That is when concurrent filing comes in. Concurrent filing is when an immigrant petition is filed at the same time you file your application for the Green Card.
Depending on the status the person living in the United States has, they have a higher priority and more possibilities at petitioning family members.
U.S. citizens can ask for siblings or parents and it that’s the relationship you hold with them, it might be useful to read: Should I renew my Green Card or apply for citizenship?
Prior steps to your Green Card application
Once you’ve determined the process you’ll follow to get your Green card, there are a few other things you must take into account before filing:
1- Check Visa Availability and their Priority Dates
Make sure there is a visa available for you before you apply for a Green Card. In some categories, visas are available all the time, while in others, there is a limited number of visas.
Priority dates are given to the immigrants waiting in line to get an immigrant visa and determine when a visa becomes available.
2- Learn about travel Documents
You should learn more about when you can travel outside the United States after you apply for the green card or if you already have one. You should also learn how to apply for a refugee travel document, advance parole, and a re-entry permit just in case.
3- Get an Employment Authorization Document
U.S. employers have to make sure all employees, regardless of citizenship or nationality, are allowed to work in the United States. The Employment Authorization Document is a way to prove that you have permission to work in the United States for a specific period of time.
In order to request an Employment Authorization Document, you must file Form I-765.
Other things you should take into account
Other things related to the Green Card application that you should consider and be prepared about, are:
Immigration Medical Examinations
In most cases, when you apply for a green card, you are required to go through a medical exam. The green card medical examination is a very important step.
The exam will be completed by a government-authorized doctor, and it consists of various parts:
- A review of your immunization records and medical history.
- A mental and physical evaluation.
- Alcohol and drug screening.
- Tests for various illnesses and diseases.
Affidavit of Support
An affidavit of support is a form that a sponsor files on your behalf when you are applying for an immigrant visa or a Green Card. It is required for most categories of immigrants before they obtain the green card.
The purpose of this is to demonstrate that you have the financial stability needed in order to live in the United States without needing financial benefits or welfare from the U.S. government.
This is similar to the previous step. In this step, most immigrants must demonstrate that they will not become a public charge in order to get a Green Card.
*A public charge is when a person depends on the money of the U.S. government to support themselves.
Child Status Protection Act
Your age can determine if you are eligible for a Green Card as a child.
The Child Status Protection Act or CSPA, allows some children who have aged out (become 21 years or older) after an immigrant petition has been filed so they can still remain eligible through their parent for the Green Card.