Acquiring a U.S green card can really be a long process. At times, years of trying and trying can eventually lead to failure – that is if the necessary procedures are disregarded or done with no preparation or sufficient know-how.
This article aims to lead you to well-fulfilled efforts and finally, a US green card. Use these tips to lessen the hassle and improve your chances of permanent residency in the country:
- Analyze your Eligibility
Are you even eligible to travel or live in the US?
This is the question that you must ask yourself before even going full force into acquiring a green card. This way, you can avoid wasted money, effort and time.
Who are not eligible to travel or live in the US?
|Reason for Not Being Eligible||Waiver Availability|
|You carry a communicable disease||Yes|
|You have a physical or mental condition that may affect other people||Yes|
|Drug trafficking history||No|
|Record of grave crimes||Yes|
|US Immigration Laws Violation(s)||Yes|
|You are financially unstable||No|
|Nazi crimes participation||No|
- Beware of Frauds
In times of need, you’ll most likely be looking for more help, and because of this, scammers are always on the lookout. They’ll be offering you help in exchange for cash, and leave you hanging in the end with nothing but empty pockets and no green card.
Here are some common scams to avoid:
- Scammers Posing as Lawyers
This is the most common scam people fall for, for an obvious reason: authority.
These scammers introduce themselves as lawyers or notary public (non-lawyers with the permit to practice law) — a good way to present themselves as trustworthy authorities. They’ll offer to manage the paperwork for you and guarantee you success for a price, but they’ll only end up taking your money in the end for nothing in return.
Now, how do you know if someone is qualified or even allowed to perform these tasks for you?
Simply look for their names in the list of accredited lawyers by the Executive Office for Immigration Review or use immigration lawyer search tools that are available on the Internet.
- Phone Scams
Phone scams are very notorious, not only in line with immigration, but with other products/services too. They’re easy to stop, but still, millions of people are getting fooled by these frauds because of the lack of information.
In most cases, scammers over the phone will offer you something that they expect you to see as very valuable. For immigration scams over the phone, the bait is simple – they’ll offer you their services that can assure you a green card in a specific time for a specific amount of cash or in some cases, personal info.
One thing to keep in mind is this: authorized immigration agents will not ask for your personal info, nor will anyone who abides by the law, and it is very unlikely that a random “lawyer or agent” will call you to offer their services, because in reality, it’s you who should be reaching out to them and not the other way around.
- Turn Your O1 Visa to a Green Card
If you currently possess an O1 Visa that allows you to work in the US, you can turn this privilege to a green card. How can you upgrade your 01 Visa to Green Card?
Step 1: submit an immigrant petition to USCIS
Step 2: Once approved, you can:
- Adjust your status
– this option requires you to be physically present in the United States. You’ll only need to file an I-485 form with USCIS. This form, once approved, will grant you lawful residency in the country.
This is by far an easier way to get access to a green card, given that you’re already working in the country as a professional or a skilled worker.
This process takes around 6 months.
- Apply for an immigrant visa
– This option is taken by individuals who are not living/working in the country as non-immigrants. Taking this option will need you to file a DS-260 before attending an interview at a US embassy or consulate in your country.
This process takes around 1 year without premium processing involved.
- Be Aware of Errors that Result to Rejection
The only way to have your immigration application accepted is to avoid mistakes.
First of all, you can get rejected right away if you’re not eligible to live or to travel to the United States. Filing an application without checking for eligibility is mistake number one. Eligibility checking should always be step 1.
There will be a lot of forms when applying for a green card in the US, and to get accepted, you will need a number of points from these forms you fill up.
In most cases, forms with questions left blank are the reasons for denial. Simply missing to put your signature on a form which requires you to is instant rejection.
Here’s a list of the common mistakes that cause rejection of immigrant applications:
- Incomplete forms submitted
- Using outdated templates
- Missing signatures
- Illegible handwriting
- Unnecessarily large files
- Use of colored ink other than black
- Stapling, paper clips, or any sort of binding
- Join the Green Card Lottery
The green card lottery, also known as Diversity Immigration Program is a big opportunity for aspiring green card holders.
What is it?
It’s part of the US’ Immigration Act of 1990, and it aims to increase the diversity of immigrants currently living in the US.
However, this program is only accessible by countries with the least number of immigrants in the last 5 years.
55,000 immigrant visas are given annually, and just like the past year, there were 23,000,000 applicants – thus the term, lottery.
This is only a two-process lottery: if you are in a country given the chance to participate in the lottery, all you have to do is fill up a form on the State Department’s website, free of charge. Then, the wait begins.
Countries with more than 50000 immigrants to the US are not allowed to join. In 2019, these countries were not included in the lottery: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom except Northern Ireland, and Vietnam.
It’s a step-by-step process..
Acquiring a green card has a naturally long process. Make sure that you’re not wasting your effort, time and resources by taking it slowly – step-by-step. Ensuring that every form that you submit is done the best you can will improve your chances. Relying on luck alone is not enough and is guaranteed to lead to rejection. Make use of resources online which are readily available in a few clicks – most are free and very useful. In the end, it’s all about presence of mind and determination.