Ways of getting a green card Green card is an integral part in the US citizenship process, for it is the most important criteria to qualify for filing the application. Immigrants may get a green card through
Family Employment Refugee/asylum status Diversity Visa lottery program Besides these standard ways, there are other routes like getting it by being an Amerasian, armed forces member, Cuban , Haitian refugee etc. Every one of the above listed processes is time-consuming, with long processing times. But waiting for a green card is definitely worth it at the end. Although there are many ways of getting a green card, the green card family and marriage route have been the most preferred. They sure do have their own set if advantages over the others mainly due to the reduction in the waiting times. Between the two, there is not much advantage of one over the other. It may be equally advantageous to get permanent residency through either of these two ways. Green card through family This is a very useful program of the USCIS to unite families in the US. Spouse, unmarried children ( below 21 yrs of age) and parents of the US citizen( if the citizen is over 21 yrs of age ) can be brought into the US through this option. For immediate relatives, there is no limit to the number of visas and they do not have to wait in line for visas to become available. Green card family process 1 step process – US citizen filing in Form I-130 ( Petition for Alien Relative/Immigrant petition) and the applicant sending in Form I-485( Application to register permanent residence) concurrently. This is the concurrent filing process. This will be suitable for applicants who are already inside the United States. 2 step process – In this applicants should first wait for the I-130 to get approved or received by the USCIS and then file in Form I – 485. They should attach the copy of the I-130 receipt or Form I-797 ( Notice of Action) which will serve as a proof of the I-130 being received or accepted by the USCIS. This 2 step process known as Adjustment of Status will also suit those who are already in the United States. Green card by marrying a US citizen This is one of the most sought after ways by many immigrants owing to its shorter processing time. When a foreign national is being sponsored a K-1 fiancee visa (Form I-129 F) by the US citizen, the visa will help the fiancee to enter the US and get married to the US citizen within 90 days of entering the country. In order to sponsor a green card this way, The sponsor should be able to demonstrate his/her US citizenship status The US citizen and the fiancee should have met each other in person once within 2 yrs of filing in the petition Both of them should be legally free to enter into marriage When the I-129 is filed in and approved, then the foreign national has to apply for an immigrant visa at his/her country. Processing time of I-129 F is 5 months. Once this visa is issued then is the time to get married. Following this, the fiancee can file in to adjust status to that of a permanent resident, while remaining in the United States.
Green card by marrying a permanent resident Permanent residents must file Form I-824 to notify the appropriate US consulate that their spouse will follow to join them in the US. This is for the sponsor category that got married before getting the resident status. For the other category first will be the filing of Form I-130 followed by Form I-485 , once the immigrant petition is approved. Although green card marriage is very popular, many cases of fraudulent weddings have been reported. Foreign nationals marry US citizens just for the sake of getting a green card and then go their own ways. In order to check this, the USCIS keep track of these marriages even after a year or two to check their genuine nature. If found fake, the green card status will be revoked and the US citizen or permanent resident sponsor will be in trouble.