If you are abroad and wish to immigrate to the US, you need to go through consular processing. Whereas if you are already in the US and are eligible to apply for a green card based on being sponsored by an employer to family member or based on holding asylee or refugee status, you can file an Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident through Form I-485.
Adjustment of status :
Simply put, if you are currently in the U.S. and have an approved Immigrant Petition, you will be eligible to file an Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident of the US. Unless you are applying in a category for which visa numbers are always available, you must have a “current” Priority Date in order to be eligible to file. If you are applying based on your relationship with a U.S. citizen spouse, the parent or child may be eligible to file the Application for Adjustment of Status to Permanent Resident at the same time that the Immigrant Petition is submitted.
If you are an individual who held asylee or refugee status for one year or more, you may also be eligible to file to adjust status to Permanent Resident. If you are outside the U.S., you will not be eligible to file to adjust Status to Permanent Resident. In such a case, you can get a green card status by applying for an Immigrant Visa at a U.S. consulate in your country. The I 485 green card form can also be used by certain Cuban nationals to request a change in the date that their permanent residence began in the US.
You need to file I 485 for green card with the needed supporting documents and fees with the USCIS. If you are 79 years of age or older, you will not be charged a biometric fee. If you are filing Form I 485 on the basis of being admitted to the United States as a refugee, then you need not pay any fee.
After you send the application to the USCIS, and while it is being processed, you can travel outside the United Stated. But you need to get advance permission called Advance Parole to return to the U.S. In case you do not apply for Advance Parole before you leave the United States, you will abandon your application with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and you will not be allowed to return to the United States.
If your Form I 485 green card application is denied, USCIS will send you a letter that will tell you why the application was denied. Currently, if you are not in a legal status in the US, the process to remove you from the country will begin as soon as your application is denied. In such a case, you can have an immigration judge review the denial of your application during removal proceedings. During this review, Immigration officials should prove that the facts on your I 485 application were untruthful and that your application was rightly denied. After this, if the immigration judge decides to remove you from the country, you can still appeal this decision. Normally, you can appeal within 33 days after the immigration judge decided to remove you from the country. The appeal will then be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals once your appeal form and the required fee are processed.
A Green Card is an evidence or an identification card given to the eligible people to live and work in United States as a permanent resident. The Green Card holders are granted many immigration benefits. The green card holder must maintain the permanent residence status and will be put in the removal proceedings if certain conditions of the his/her status are not met.
A Green Card is valid for ten years and it must be renewed before it expires. If the Green Card is obtained through marriage to a US Citizen or a permanent resident, by adjustment of the status using Form I-485 green card, it is called as Conditional Green Card which is valid for two years. This must be renewed before the conditional resident status expires.
Renew Green Card application:
Permanent Residents who are issued with a ten year valid Green Card must renew their card before it expires. All Green Cards will have an expiration date printed on the card. The card holders must renew it if it has already expired or 6 months before the expiration date . Some Green Cards will not have an expiration date due to an old version of the card. But now USCIS strongly recommends to renew the old version cards . If the Green Card is expired then the card is considered as Out of Status.
Green Card Renewal process:
Those people whose Green Cards have already expired or is expiring must adopt the Green Card renewal process. To renew the card a form I90 ( Application to Replace / Renew Green Card) must be filed by the applicant.
Once the application is completed , the applicant must send it to USCIS along with the supporting documents and relevant fees.
The applicant must include the following evidences with his/her Green Card Renewal application.
- Photocopies of the front and back of the Expired or Expiring Green Card.
- Personal Identification document such as a State Driver’s license card or a valid passport.
After the USCIS receives the Green Card Renewal application, they will check if all the required evidence that the applicant provides are correct and complete. And on receipt of the application, USCIS will send a form I-797C (Application Receipt Notice to the applicant) to notify the applicant the application has been received.
USCIS will then request for more information and might request the applicants to appear for an interview with them. If the Green Card Renewal application is approved, the new Green Card will be mailed to the applicant. If the application is denied , USICS will send a notification letter to the applicant stating the reason for denial.
Travel during the application process:
If the applicant who wishes to travel during the Green Card Renewal process, he/she may have to get their passport stamped with I-551 at the local INS office to indicate that he/she has filed for a new card. The applicants will have to make an appointment with their local USCIS office using the Application Receipt Notice (form I-797C) and passport which acts as proof of having filed the I-90.
A permanent resident is a person who is granted authorization to live and work permanently in the United States. As a proof of the permanent resident status the individual is given an authorization card which is commonly called as Green Card and officially called as I 551. Permanent Residents are authorized to work in any company or institution, permitted to start own business or create own corporation, given the privilege to sponsor his/her family members.
There are various ways in obtaining a green card. One may obtain a green card through employment, through family member, asylee and refugee status, through adoption by a permament resident or a US Citizen or through green card lottery program. Most people become permanent residents through a family member who is a US citizen or permanent resident of the United States. The United States allows U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents to petition for their family members to come and live permanently in the United States.
Who can use form I-130:
To get a family based green card a foreign individual must be sponsored by a US Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident. The sponsor must file a petition called form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) to help the immigrant to immigrate to United States.If the immigrant is already in US, the sponsor can adjust the status using Form I-485 green card. To sponsor a family member , the sponsor or the petitioner must meet certain eligibility criteria.
- The sponsor must be either a US Citizen or a Permanent Resident of the United States . The sponsor must also provide document for such status.
- The sponsor must have a qualifying relationship with the immigrant.
- The sponsor must be willing to sponsor the immigrant by filing a form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)
- The sponsor must prove that he/she will be able to support the immigrant and other sponsored family members financially at 125% above the mandatory poverty line.
Obtaining a family based green card is a two step process. The first step is filing the Family Immigration Petition form I-130 where the sponsor must establish a qualifying relationship with the immigrant. The second step is filing the green card application. The second step is not necessary when the sponsor is a US Citizen and the immigrant is the spouse or parent or minor child who is currently in the United States. Other immigrants who do not fall in this category must go through both the process .
If the sponsor is a US Citizen, then he may sponsor his spouse, children, parents and siblings under certain conditions. If the sponsor is a Permanent Resident , then he/she may sponsor his spouse , children and parents .
All the family based green card petitions must be signed properly and sent to USCIS with the supporting evidence. Once the petition is received , it will be checked for completeness with the inclusion of the supporting evidence. If the required evidence is not submitted, the application will be rejected. The USCIS might require more information from the sponsor or the immigrant and might request them to appear for an interview. If the petition is granted, they will be notified in writing.