This site contains important information for noncitizens to complete necessary tasks related to the immigration process.
1. Determine if you are eligible by having a family member sponsor you. One of the most common forms of eligibility are sponsorships from a family member. If you have a family member who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent U.S. resident and is at least 21-years-old, you may be eligible to apply. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines family member as:
2.Seek sponsorship through your employer. Some employers are willing to sponsor an immigrant for permanent residency. This is required if you possess an exceptional skill or ability that is not commonly found in the general working population. You must do a test with the labor market to illustrate that there are no available individuals for the job in the US, which is why you'd be eligible for a green card.
3. Check to see if you qualify as a special immigrant. Certain categories of immigrants may qualify for special immigrant status. Those employed as religious workers or international broadcasters, and those employed by an international organization or NATO-6 may qualify for this status. Additionally, the following groups may qualify:
4. Qualify for legal residency through extraordinary circumstances. There are a number of legal resident qualifications that may apply if you experienced harsh or extraordinary circumstances in your homeland or upon your entry into the U.S. You may qualify for legal residency status under these terms if:
1. Meet with an immigration attorney. Prior to filing for lawful permanent resident status, you may want to meet with a U.S. Immigration Attorney. They can not only help make sure you are completely eligible, they can also help you prepare your forms and documents and assist with any complications that may arise.
2. Have your sponsor file your immigrant petition. If someone, such as a relative or your employer, is sponsoring your immigration, they will need to file an immigrant petition for you. If you qualify to file for yourself, you need to file your petition. The exact petition and documentation you need will depend on how you qualify for lawful permanent resident status. All forms are available from the USCIS website.
3. Fill out Form I-485 and submit it to USCIS. Form I-485 - Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status is essentially the application form for your green card. The form is about 18 pages in length and requires you to provide details about yourself, your family, your employment, and your eligibility.
4. Pay the filing fee. You will need to submit your filing fee along with your I-485. You may submit a check along with your application, or pay online using a credit card. The fee structure for filing your I-485 is:
5. Schedule your biometrics services appointment. After you file your application, USCIS will help you schedule a biometrics services appointment at a local Application Support Center. Show up to your local center at the date and time listed on your appointment notice to provide biometrics including your fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature.
6. Attend your Green Card interview. After your petition and application have been processed along with all background and security checks, you will be scheduled for an interview with someone from USCIS. The nature of the interview will vary somewhat depending on your application and qualifying circumstances. In general, it is important to be honest, polite, and calm throughout your interview.
7. Avoid traveling abroad while your application is pending. In many cases, you will be restricted from traveling outside of the U.S. while your lawful permanent resident application is pending. If you do need to leave the country for any reason, you may need to apply for an advance parole document prior to leaving the country.
1. Carry your Green Card with you at all times. Once you become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., you are advised to carry your Green Card with you at all times. This serves as your proof that you are authorized to live and work in the U.S. It also functions as a photo ID, much like a driver's license or passport.
2. Do not travel outside of the U.S. for more than 12 months at a time. Remaining outside of the U.S. for more than 12 months could result in the loss of lawful permanent resident status. If you need to be outside of the U.S. for longer than 12 months, you may need to apply for a re-entry permit prior to leaving the country.
3. Renew your Green Card 6 months prior to expiration. Green cards typically expire every 10 years. Plan to begin your green card renewal process 6 months prior to when your green card's expiration date.
TIPS: Even if you qualify in one of the approved categories, such as being an immediate family member or having an employer sponsor, it is very important that you check to see if you have a permanent bar or require a waiver. Individuals with a permanent bar cannot apply, even with a waiver. If they do apply, they are revealing themselves to the government and could be subjected to deportation.