The legalities of living in the United States could be tricky if you were not born initially here. To become a citizen, one must apply for a Green Card, also known as a permanent resident card. There are a lot of steps to the process, but here are some answers to frequently asked questions that can help smooth out the path to lawful permanent residency.
What is a green card?
A green card is an identification form that lets government officials know that you are a permanent resident here in the United States. With a green card, you do not have the same privileges as U.S. citizens, like the right to apply for a passport, the right to vote, or the priority to sponsor another person for a green card.
Are there limited quantities of Green Cards?
There are few green cards, but a green card is only limited to one person. As said before, when you receive a green card, you do not have priority in sponsoring another person. The extension of green cards to spouses or children born outside of the U.S. is not allowed, and they are non-transferable.
How can I apply for a Green Card?
You can apply for a green card through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Each person's eligibility is different based on your current status and what category you are using. However, you must file an immigrant petition and a Green Card application to begin your process.
Does a green card make me a citizen?
No, a green card does not make you a citizen just yet. A green card allows you to reside permanently and work in the United States with similar privileges to citizens. Green card holders do qualify for some government benefits. However, they cannot vote or apply for a passport and face deportation if convicted of a crime.
How long Does the Process Take?
The process to get a green card depends on your current location and which type you're applying for. A green card can take anywhere between 9-38 months.
What type of green cards are there?
It is a common misconception to believe that you can only obtain a green card through marriage. There are many different types of green cards up for application. Common types of green cards are:
How much will the process cost me?
The process of applying for a green card is pricey but can depend on where you live and which card you apply for. Generally, if you live in the states, you're looking to spend over $1,700, but if you live in another country, you'll most likely spend near $1,400.
What if I get denied?
If you apply for a green card and get denied, you have a few options to go about your future. The denial notice will also tell you if you can appeal your case with instructions. There will be a fee in place that you must pay before your case goes to the Administrative Appeals Office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
If you cannot apply for an appeal, you can file a motion to reopen or reconsider your case. To do so, we recommend having more supporting documents that can help the status of your case. In this situation, you will need to present a legal argument that will warrant a reversal of your denied status.
In the case of either situation, most recommend the option of seeking legal counsel to make things smoother for the removal proceedings in immigration court. There you can renew your application with your lawyer through an immigration judge.
What happens after I get a green card?
Once you receive your green card or permanent residence card, you can live and work in the United States. You will be eligible for citizenship after three years with a marriage-based green card, but you will have to wait five years with others.
Law Group International Immigration Advocacy
Many other questions can come along with applying for a green card. If you are interested in applying for a green card or have been denied, you should seek legal counsel at Law Group International. Our team is dedicated to serving people around the work achieve their goals in America through immigration legal advice/
Are you or a loved one seeking status as a permanent resident in the United States? Our Immigration Law Services in Washington D.C. and around the U.S. can lead and provide counsel for all your immigration-related matters. To learn more, schedule your consultation today by calling (703) 546-9300 or visit our website.