The green card application process can seem daunting, but with a little knowledge and preparation, it doesn’t have to be.
Those who have gone through the green card application process know that many questions need to be answered. Questions like how long it takes, how much it costs to get a green card, and even queries about what happens if my green card expires during the naturalization process may seem intimidating for first-time applicants.
But don’t worry – we’re here to help.
Here are the 7 most FAQs about green card applications and our answers to them:
1. What is a green card, and how long does it take to get one?
A green card, aka Permanent Resident Card, allows an individual to live and work permanently in the United States. A green card holder is known as a lawful permanent resident (LPR).
The green card application process can take anywhere from six months to two years. It involves several steps, including:
- submitting form I-485, or an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to USCIS
- undergoing a background check
- having an interview
In addition, green card holders are required to renew their green cards every ten years. Despite the length of the process, many individuals find that the green card is worth the wait, as it opens up a world of opportunity.
With a green card, individuals can live and work in the United States without fear of being deported. They also have access to many benefits, such as Social Security and Medicare.
In short, a green card is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to make the United States their home.
2. What are the eligibility requirements for a green card?
There are several categories of green card eligibility, including family-based, employment-based, and refugee or asylee status.
You can learn more about the specific requirements for each category on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
Generally, you must demonstrate that you have a valid reason for coming to the United States. And that you can support yourself financially. You will also need to submit supporting documents, including evidence of your eligibility and proof of identity.
3. How much does it cost?
The green card application process can be complex and expensive. There are a number of fees associated with applying for a green card, including:
- filing fee
- biometrics fee
- processing fee
In addition, green card applicants may need to pay for an immigration attorney and submit additional documentation.
The total cost of the green card application process can vary depending on the individual case, but it is typically around $1000.
For many people, the green card application process is worth the cost to live and work in the United States legally. However, it is important to research the green card application process before beginning to ensure that you are prepared for the costs involved.
4. Is there a fee waiver available?
Yes. Form I-912 is a request for a fee waiver for green card applications. It must be submitted with the green card application and supporting documentation.
There are two types of fee waivers:
- for applicants who cannot afford the green card application fee
- for those who are experiencing financial hardship
If you’re granted a fee waiver, you will not have to pay the green card application fee.
Fee waivers are only available for certain green card applications, so be sure to check with your local green card office to see if you qualify.
5. Is a green card the same as becoming a U.S. citizen?
No, a green card is not the same as becoming a U.S. citizen. But you can apply for United States citizenship if you have a green card through the naturalization process.
Here’s how they differ, including their main difference to an immigrant visa.
|Green Card||Permits a person to work & live in the United States permanently|
|Certificate of Naturalization||An official document proving that a person is a U.S. citizenGives the right to live & work in the United States without having to obtain a green card|
|Visa||An authorization allowing a foreign citizen to travel to the United States|
6. What if my green card expires during the naturalization process?
If your green card expires while you’re in the process of naturalization, don’t worry. You can still complete the process and become a U.S. citizen.
The process of naturalization can take several months or even a few years. During this time, it is possible that your green card will expire. If this happens, you will need to get a new green card before you can complete the naturalization process.
You can apply for a new green card by filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. You have to pay a filing fee and submit evidence that your green card has expired.
Once you have a new green card, you can continue with the naturalization process.
It is important to keep your green card up to date. If your green card expires, it will not automatically mean that you will lose your permanent resident status.
However, renewing your green card before it expires is a good idea to avoid complications.
7. Do I need an immigration lawyer?
An immigration lawyer is not required when applying for a green card, but having one can be very helpful. An immigration lawyer ensures that you complete the necessary forms correctly and can represent you in court if necessary.
Ultimately, hiring an immigration lawyer can give you the best chance of success throughout the green card process.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when getting a green card.
If you have other questions or if you need help putting together your application, don’t hesitate to contact a reputable immigration law firm. They are more than willing to help make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible for you.