Green Card Processes

Many different processes involving Green Cards can get quite confusing, but after a little research and some help from one of the following guides, you can get what you need.

Keep in mind that there is a third way beside family-based or employment-based immigration. The Green Card Lottery is the only immigration program in the United States which does not require a job offer or relatives already residing in the country. Because of this, it is one of the easiest ways for immigrants to come to the United States.

Green Cards through Family

If you have a family member who is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States you can have them file a petition on your behalf to immigrate to the United States.

It is important to be sure that you fulfill the requirements stated by the USCIS. The government is very specific about which family members are allowed to immigrate in this category.

Some of the lower priority levels of this visa have extremely long wait times of over a decade, so it is important to plan.

Green Cards through Employment

Employment based visas are a very popular option in United States immigration and there are some non-immigrant programs that allow people to eventually immigrate.

Generally, immigration visas based on employment are granted to individuals who have their employers file their petitions on their behalf.  Be aware that immigration laws may change this year. If that happens, this process could change significantly.

The Green Card Application

After a petition is granted and your priority date (availability of visa number) becomes available it will be time for you to apply for the actual Green Card document. There are two processes by which this can be accomplished.

People currently living outside of the United States are to file through consular processing at a foreign mission in the region in which they apply.

People already in the United States for one reason or another will file for their Green Card through a process called “Adjustment of Status”. This process is to completed with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).

Green Card Renewal

After a period of time, you will need to renew your Green Card to make sure that your immigration documents are up-to-date and current.

Full Green Cards expire every ten years and it is a good idea to get a 90 day jump on the expiration date.

Conditional Green Cards expire two years after issue and it is essential that you apply for a full Green Card 90 days before the expiration of the conditional Green Card.

Green Card Replacement

In case your Green Card is lost, stolen, damaged or mutilated you can easily have it replaced with this simple process. In essence, it is very similar to replacing a Green Card through renewal, but it is still important to renew your Green Card every ten years.

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