If you're interested in pursuing the American dream and starting a new life in the United States, you'll need to apply for a green card. A legal document that will allow you to legally live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. Some of the ways that you can apply for a card are through an immediate family member who is a US citizen or resident, through employment, or through applying for a K1 fiance visa.
In the past, it was also possible to enter a diversity lottery, in order to try and obtain a visa. To discover whether you're eligible for a green card and the process that you'll need to complete in order to have your application approved, simply continue reading.
Elegibility Through A Relative
If you are the legal spouse of a US citizen, the child of a US citizen, or the parent of an adult US citizen, you will be given first preference when it comes to applying for a family-sponsored green card. You can also submit a petition for residency if you have a sibling over the age of 21 who is a US citizen. Unfortunately, it's not possible to apply for a residency visa through your grandparent, aunt, uncle, or cousin.
Elegibility Through Your Partner
If you're married to a US citizen you can petition for residency through a marriage visa. In order to be eligible for this visa, you'll need to submit a copy of your official marriage certificate which shows your full name, your spouse's full name, and the date of your wedding as well as proof of your relationship. Such as copies of your shared bank statements.
If you're only engaged to marry your fiance, you'll be eligible for residency if you are willing to legally marry your fiance, within 90 days of entering the United States on a K1 fiance visa. Again, you'll need to convince an agent at your nearest US consulate or embassy that you're in a legitimate, long-term relationship and are not trying to commit fraud and to lie about a fake relationship, in order to live and work in the United States.
Elegibility Through Employer
There are three distinct preference groups when it comes to green card sponsorship through employment. With applicants in the first preference group being individuals who have shown exceptional success in the arts, sciences, education, business, and sport. Also listed in preference group one are acclaimed researchers, professors, and multinational executives.
If you don't find yourself in the first preference group, you may be eligible to apply for residency through employment through the second preference group. If you're seeking employment in a profession that requires an advanced degree, such as a master's degree or a doctorate, you should fall into preference group two.
If you hold a bachelor's degree, you'll fall into preference group 3. You'll also find yourself in preference group 3 if you are a skilled worker who has at least two years of relevant work experience or training. While your chances of being offered residency are lower if you identify as an unskilled worker, you are still able to submit a petition through a US-based employer.
Gather All The Evidence To Submit Your Application
For example, if you are applying for a green card through an employer sponsored visa, you'll require copies of your qualifications and college transcripts. As another example, if you're applying for a visa through a parent, it's a great idea to take a copy of your birth certificate which shows your full name and your parent's full name.
Submit Your Application Online By Creating An Account With The USCIS
You don't have to be located in the United States to file your petition as you can submit all your necessary information online by creating an online account with the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services. Where you'll find the appropriate forms to fill out and can upload your supporting evidence. However, if you wish to apply for a permanent resident visa through an employer, they'll need to submit an application for you, on your behalf. When it's time to submit your application, make sure to pay your application fees, in order to ensure that your application will be assessed promptly and that there won't be any unnecessary hold-ups with your application.
While it's possible to submit your application via the post, if you want up-to-the-minute updates on the current status of your application, your best option is to file your petition online, directly through the USCIS.
Wait For Your Application To Be Transferred To An US Embassy Or Consulate
The USCIS will eventually transfer your application to your nearest US embassy or consulate, which will decide whether or not to approve your application. At this point in time, you should receive your case number. If the agent processing your application, requires additional information for you, in order to prove your eligibility, they will let you know in order to give you a chance to supplement your application with additional pieces of evidence.
Attend An Interview At Your US Embassy Or Consulate
If all goes well, you'll be offered an interview at the US embassy or consulate which is handling your case. If you're able to convince your case agent that your case is legitimate and that you should be granted a green card, you'll reach the final stages of your permanent visa process. It may be worth noting that before you become an official US resident you'll need to have your fingerprints taken.
Pay Your Immigrant Fee Upon Arrival
Upon arrival in the United States, you'll be required to pay an immigrant fee. So be sure to have extra money on hand, when you fly to the United States.
Wait For Your Physical Green Card To Arrive
Not long after you arrive in the United States, your green card will be mailed to your postal address. Make sure to take copies of it and to keep it safe in order to avoid having to pay for an expensive replacement.
So if you want to live the American dream and to start a new life in the United States, it's well worth applying for a green card, if you are eligible to submit an online application.