Immigrating to become a permanent resident of the United States and applying for a green card is part of a long and tedious immigration process. It is seldom stress-free. Without an experienced immigration lawyer working with you, it is easy to get confused since you need to fill out various USCIS forms and prepare supporting documents for immigration paperwork.
What does it mean to be a green card holder?
A permanent residence card, which is more often called a US green card, is a document proving an individual’s lawful permanent residence. It is particularly useful when one’s permanent resident status must be proven, such as when buying a house or choosing jobs.
How can one apply for a green card?
There are several means of obtaining a green card, on various grounds. The national interest waiver, for instance, gives an advanced degree professional a chance at becoming a permanent resident. An investor visa, on the other hand, may be granted to a foreign national investing in a certain commercial enterprise. An individual of a different nationality whose fiance is either a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident could qualify for a green card through marriage.
What office issues a green card?
US green cards are issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or the USCIS office. It has a validity of ten years and lawful permanent residents may renew it in the same office upon expiration, when necessary.
How long are the processing times in the usual green card process?
Ideally, the approval or denial of your immigration petition shall be communicated to you right after your green card interview. However, if your petition form must first be approved by a supervisor, the processing time for your application for permanent residency could be extended by two weeks. Furthermore, in the case of a Request for Additional Evidence, the waiting period could be extended by three months.
Note that even in the first scenario, the actual permanent resident card will be sent via mail and not on the spot.
So how long will it take before I can get a green card?
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services webpage, individuals who entered the United States with an immigrant visa should be receiving the card 120 days after arrival at the port of entry, or after payment of relevant processing fees. Most of the time, though, they are sent as soon as all paperwork is processed since immigration law does not mention a specific time limit.
What if I still did not get my green card months after my immigration interview?
The Notice of Decision is often mailed after several months, with green cards usually taking a bit longer. You may inquire at the USCIS office if you find the need to do so. Also, inform the USCIS if you plan to move, so the card will not be sent to the wrong address. It is best to consult with competent immigration attorneys for ways to ensure that it will not be further delayed.
Why do I need to consult with a trusted immigration lawyer?
He or she can help in explaining relevant immigrant visas, starting your green card application, and preparing the requirements necessary when you apply for a green card. He or she can likewise assist when acquiring conditional resident status, through either an adjustment of status or consular processing and (eventually) having conditions on permanent residence removed.
Before you apply for a green card, give us a call. Consult with reliable immigration attorneys from Diener Law.