3 ways to get a green card without marriage
How to Get a Green Card
Having a green card, or permanent residence status, gives you the ability to legally live and work in the United States, and it's a step toward becoming a U.S. citizen. You can apply for a green card through your family, your employer, and for other special reasons. The process can take a long time, but the reward is great. Read on to find out what you need to do to obtain a green card.
Knowing Your Eligibility Category
Determine whether you can get a green card through family.This is one of the most common ways to get a green card, an in many ways the simplest. If you're directly related to a US citizen, US immigration law allows your relative to petition for you to be able to live in the US.
- Many obtain a green card as the immediate relative of a US citizen. If you're a US citizen's spouse, unmarried child under the age of 21, or parent of a US citizen over the age of 21, your relative may be able to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.You would then follow up by going through the "Adjustment of Status" process to become a permanent resident of the US.The procedure is slightly different for people not already in the United States, and is referred to as "consular processing"; a visa is administered by the US Department of State, and you would become a permanent resident once you are admitted into the US.
- The procedure is similar, but slower, if you are trying to get a green card through an immediate relative who is a permanent resident, but not yet a US citizen.
- If you turn older than 21 or get married, your status as an immediate family member changes, and this can delay getting your green card under the "family" category.
- You can also get a green card through special family situations including being a battered spouse or child, a widow or widower of a US citizen, or a child of a foreign diplomat born in the US.
Determine whether you are eligible to get a green card through a job.This general category is divided among many subcategories, but essentially entails all instances of green cards being issued for purposes related to a job offer, investment or having a specialized job. Determine whether one of the following situations applies to you:
- You've received a permanent job offer for employment in the US. If this is the case, your employer will need to get a labor certificationand fill out Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
- You want to get a green card through investment. If you're an entrepreneur and have made an investment of either ,000,000 or 0,000 in a targeted employment area, and plan to create at least 10 jobs for US citizens, you can apply for a green card through investment.You'll need to fill out Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.
- You have extraordinary abilities and want to self-petition for a green card. Very talented or extraordinarily skilled people who are considered to be the best in their field (Nobel Prize winners, top athletes, etc.) can self petition for a green card. This is an extremely rare category.
- You fall into a special job category. If you're an Afghan or Iraqi translator, an Afghan or Iraqi who assisted the US government, a member of the armed forces, or fall into another special category, you can get a green card that way.
Determine if you have fall into the refugee or asylee green card category.If you entered the US as a refugee or an asylee, or as an immediate family member of an asylee, you can apply for a green card 1 year after entering the country.
- If you're in the country as a refugee, it is mandatory to apply for permanent status after being in the country for a year.
- If you're in the country as an asylee, it is not mandatory to apply for green card status.
Filing Your Petition and Checking Visa Availability
File the correct petition.Once you figure out what immigrant category you belong to, you'll need to have your family or employer file an immigrant petition for you. In rare cases, you'll file one yourself.
- If you're obtaining a green card through your family, your relative must file Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative.
- If you're obtaining a green card through your employer, your employer must file Form I-140, Petition for an Alien Worker.
- If you're an entrepreneur investing money, you need to file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.
- If you're in a special category such as a widow or widower, file Form I-360.
- If you're a refugee or asylee, you most likely don't need an underlying petition if you meet the requirements to adjust status.
Check visa availability in your category.Once your relative, employer or you yourself file your initial petition, you need to check to see whether a visa is available before filing the remaining application forms. The number of visas available differs according to your immigrant category and the country from which you are emigrating.
- There are an unlimited number of visas available for people applying for a green card through immediate relatives.
- There is a limited number of visas available to those applying for green cards through family that is not immediate and for employment purposes. You will receive a priority date and be put on a waiting list until a visa becomes available.
- You'll receive a "Visa Bulletin" that will allow you to check your place in the visa queue.
File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status.You have to wait for a visa to become available before this form can be filed. Read the instructions on the form and make sure to submit all of the required documents and information. Be sure to send your forms to the correct address.
- If you're applying for a green card through an immediate family member, you can file form I-485 at the same time your relatives files your petition, since there are unlimited visas available in your category.
- There is a filing fee of 70.
Finishing the Process and Getting Your Green Card
Get your biometrics taken.You'll receive a notice calling you to go to an Application Support Center for an appointment during which you'll be fingerprinted, have your picture taken, and have your signature taken. The center will use this information to do a background check. Eventually your biometrics will be used to process your green card.
Go to your interview.In some cases you might be called in for an interview with the USCIS office to answer questions about your application. If you receive a notice, make sure you attend the appointment. The notice should include the date, time and location of the interview.
- In some cases your family member who filed your green card petition might be asked to come to the interview as well.
- Bring your travel documents, passports, and all other relevant documents to the interview.
Wait for your final decision and get your green card.The USCIS will review all of your paperwork, assess your interview if applicable, and make sure you meet all of the requirements to become a permanent resident. Once they make a decision, you'll receive a notice in the mail.
- If your application was denied, you may be able to file an appeal.
- If your application is accepted, you'll receive further instructions about getting your green card, including information on when it needs to be renewed.
QuestionCan a friend get me a U.S. green card?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAbsolutely not, as it is illegal. You need to go through the proper channels to legally obtain a green card.Thanks!
QuestionIf I go to the U.S. and marry a U.S. citizen, does that allow me to get a green card?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you are married to a U.S. citizen you can apply for a green card. However, it is not easy and it is not guaranteed you will actually be approved to get one, so make sure you meet all the criteria.Thanks!
QuestionMy younger sister is a USA citizen. Can she apply for me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you get her to say you're going to live with her and be a dependent, or get her to help you set up a job, that will make things go faster.Thanks!
QuestionCan I get a green card if I never have lived in the USA?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. You will still need a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to petition for you and you need to meet a list of criteria in order to be eligible for a green card.Thanks!
QuestionCan I apply for a green card when I'm not US citizen?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGreen cards are permanent resident cards for people who are not U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens are already citizens, so they don't need a green card. In short: the only way you can apply for a green card is if you are not a U.S. citizen.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I get a green card if I am 15 years old and have no relatives in the United States?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou cannot. in the U.S., you are considered a minor, and unless you are legally declared an emancipated adult by the court, you are still a child and could be put into the system as a homeless person until the age of 18 or be deported back to your home county.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the cost of changing my last name on a Green Card?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIn order to replace the I-551 bearing your former name, the USCIS requires you to fill out Form I-90, Application to Renew or Replace Green Card. The filing fee as of 2011 was 0, which includes both a 5 filing fee and a charge of for the biometric data.Thanks!
QuestionCan I get a green card if I have no relatives in the US?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is possible, but it will be super hard. It is easier if you have a relative by marriage or by blood in the US.Thanks!
QuestionCan I get a green card if my father was born in America, but he's deceased?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. To get a green card you need to have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident file a petition for you.Thanks!
QuestionIf I enter the U.S. illegally, can I get a Green Card?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
How do I apply to college if I want a green card?
I have my grandmother living there, and I assume she's got her green card. Also my uncle is there and has already gotten his green card. I have an F-1 visa. Is it possible for me to apply when studying?
Will having a family member who is a US citizen make the green card process take less time?
How do I get a green card if my spouse is a US citizen?
Widow mother of US citizen is eligible for Green card in USA what type of Green card is allowed to her?
||There are several ways to apply for and obtain a green card. Here are some of the most common.|
- Always read as much as you can before taking the leap. If there is anything that could prevent you from becoming a citizen or resident, such as a loved one's political activities or crimes, be sure and have explanations ready and be ready to disavow that lifestyle choice if its perceived as a negative.
- Never get caught up in a scam which asks you to pay exorbitant amounts to be ensured citizenship. No one can assure you you will become a citizen because they filed for your green card.
- Read everything. If you can't read it, ask someone you trust to do so for you.
Sources and Citations
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Video: 5 Ways to Get A Green Card
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