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How does an immigrant obtain a green card?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2023 | Immigration

Visas are powerful in specific ways. They can grant individuals legal entry to the United States based on their relationships or possibly their employment arrangements. While many of them are eligible for renewal at least once, the person who has the visa will typically need to leave the United States when it expires and is no longer eligible for renewal.

Those who have a green card don’t have to worry about filing new visa applications every few years. Recertifying a green card only has to occur once every 10 years. Additionally, those with a green card will have more protection from removal from the country and enhanced opportunities for helping family members immigrate as well.

How does someone lawfully in the United States with appropriate immigration paperwork obtain a green card?

They verify their eligibility

There are numerous different green card programs available for people in different personal situations. People hoping to secure a green card first have to verify that they are eligible based on one of the potential green card categories. From there, they will need to obtain the appropriate documentation necessary for their application. They will need to have everything on hand for a smoother time completing and submitting the paperwork.

They file the necessary documents to adjust their status

Obtaining a green card or becoming a permanent resident only happens once someone has adjusted their status from a non-immigrant visa holder to a lawful permanent resident. The status adjustment process begins when someone submits the necessary paperwork to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After that, they have to wait for processing.

Depending on the volume of applications and the program to which someone applies, could take many months to hear back after applying for a green card in some cases. However, provided that the paperwork is accurate and the individual actually does qualify, USCIS will then grant them permanent resident status and all the benefits that come with it.

Unfortunately, small mistakes in the paperwork or seemingly insignificant personal issues could delay or complicate the adjustment of an individual’s status. It can be a challenge both to determine what green card program would be the right option for an individual and also to meet all the criteria set by the USCIS without any major mistakes.

Learning more about different green card programs is often an important first step for those who want to become permanent residents of the United States. Seeking the assistance of a legal professional is also a potentially valuable first step as well.