Each year, the United States government issues over a million green cards. The majority of these recipients are family members of United States citizens and other current green card holders. Others are workers traveling to the United States from other countries seeking employment. Knowing how to obtain a green card can aid you or your loved ones when the time comes to legally enter and reside in the United States.
Types of Green Cards
There are multiple types of green cards that an individual can seek to obtain after entering the United States. The first type is the family-based green card which is granted to those who are close relatives of U.S. citizens or current green card holders. Family members who are eligible for these types of green cards include children, spouses, siblings, and parents. The widows and widowers of individuals who were U.S. citizens at the time the citizen passed away are also able to apply for a marriage-based green card.
The second type of green card is a humanitarian green card. This is one that is granted to someone who has experienced, or fears, persecution in their country of origin due to their religion, race, nationality, affiliation with a specific social group, or political opinion. It is also granted to victims of crimes including human trafficking victims or other forms of abuse.
The third type of green card is the diversity green card. This green card is designed to foster diversity within the United States by randomly selecting 50,000 people from a pool of applicants from countries that have had little immigration to the United States in past years. People who receive this type of green card may be living in the United States under another type of immigration status at the time of their entry.
Individuals who are victims of battery, cruelty, or other forms of domestic violence may apply for the fourth type of green card. This allows recipients to receive relief through the Violence Against Women Act and can benefit both women and men. It can also be used to help children who are victims of abuse obtain a green card.
Cost of a Green Card
The cost of a green card in the United States varies between $980 for an applicant who does not live within the United States and $1760 for an applicant currently living within the United States. This cost does not include the cost of medical examinations required. The cost of the medical examination is determined by the provider conducting the examination.
If you are living in the United States and married to a sponsoring spouse who is a United States citizen, you can send a single package to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in a process known as concurrent filing. This package establishes the marriage relationship and applies for the green card officially. In the package, you may include a completed medical examination conducted by a civil surgeon.
Once you have completed the application and it is processed along with all materials associated with the application, an interview that both spouses must attend is scheduled at the nearest USCIS field office. During this interview, the USCIS officer conducting the interview will be attempting to verify that the marriage was one made in good faith and not fraudulent. If the marriage is found to be authentic it is possible to have the spousal green card application approved on the spot.
Green Card Application Time Frame
The total processing time for a green card application takes, on average, 12-19 months. This wait time is caused largely by the current backlog. It is currently taking longer for the government to schedule green card interviews. The wait time can be impacted by the location of the field office you visit and for the processing of some forms a USCIS service center is responsible for handling the application.
Contact Our Immigration Law Firm Today
The road to obtaining a green card in the United States is a challenging one that you should never face alone. If you or a loved one would like to obtain a green card it is important that you speak to a qualified immigration attorney at your earliest opportunity. The Law Office Of Mariana Toledo-Hermina, LLC can help you navigate the process from start to finish ensuring all documentation is filled out correctly and appointments are scheduled at the correct location.
If you are ready to start your green card application process, contact Attorney Toledo-Hermina today. Our firm is standing by ready to help you get started and walk you through each step of obtaining your green card.