How To Apply For A Green Card
How To Apply For A Green Card. Photo KnowInsiders

Green card is a poweful card which shows the evidence of your permanent stay in the US. There are several ways to obtain that powerful card.

What is the Green Card Process?

The application process can be daunting because requirements vary depending on your situation and your eligibility.

Most people eligible to apply for a Green Card will have to fill out a few forms, including an immigrant petition and a Green Card application.

Some people can file the documentation for themselves, but others need a sponsor to file the petition. You will also be interviewed and asked questions about why you want to obtain a Green Card.

Applying for a Green Card differs on whether you live inside the United States or are applying from abroad.

List of steps you must take to apply for a Green Card:

→ File the immigrant petition

→ Once that is approved by the government, file a Green Card application

→ Attend an in-person appointment to provide fingerprints, photos, and a signature

→ Attend an interview

→ Receive a decision

• Please remember to keep your information up to date throughout the application process because you must be able to receive mail.

• If you do not update your address after moving, your case could be delayed, and you could potentially have to start the process over from the beginning.

• Updating your residence address is an important rule to follow even after you obtain a Green Card because if you do not update your address, you could risk deportation.

How Long Does the Green Card Application Process Take?

Applying for and obtaining a Green Card could take between three months to two years. Several factors go into the decision-making process, including your ties to family members or a job.

How much is a Green Card?

How To Apply For A Green Card
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Depending on your individual journey to the Green Card, the cost of the US immigrant visa differs.

Unlike the straightforward Green Card Lottery with only the basic costs, employment-based and family-based Green Cards come with additional costs due to the need for evidence and affidavits. Expect the following costs:


Processing Fee

$ 325 - $ 345

USCIS Immigrant Fee

$ 220

Biometrics Services Fee

(photo and fingerprints)

$ 85

Medical examination

(by a medical professional for the immigration process)

$ 400 - $ 500


Immigrant Petition for Foreign Workers

$ 700

Attorney and/or agency fees for a Labor Certification

vary between

$ 3000 and

$ 4000

Premium Processing Fee

to shorten wait times, some of which can be years long

$ 2500


Foreign Relative Petition Fee

$ 535

Affidavit of Support Fee

$ 120

What is the most simple way to apply for a Green Card?

How To Apply For A Green Card
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Definitely Green Card through the Green Card Lottery!

The U.S. Department of State gives away 55,000 Green Cards through the Diversity Visa Program every year. Even though a fair amount of luck is needed, this path is the most available to those looking to make their dream of living in the USA come true. People in each participating country have a fair chance to win since no country receives more than 7% of the total Green Cards.

Getting one of these highly sought-after resident permits through the Green Card Lottery is easy. All you must do is apply to participate in the drawing that takes place every year. The American Dream is the largest Green Card consulting agency worldwide and provides a wide range of comprehensive services, especially in all matters concerning the Green Card Lottery. In case you are one of the 55,000 annual lucky winners, you have the right to apply for a Green Card and emigrate to the USA.

What Is A Green Card or Permanent Resident Card in the USA? What Is A Green Card or Permanent Resident Card in the USA?

Who can participate in the Green Card Lottery?

In general, anyone who was born in one of the currently eligible countries may participate in the Green Card Lottery if they meet the following requirements:

At least 12 years of formal primary and secondary schooling

At least two years of professional work experience (within the past five years) that required at least two years of training. This experience must have been gained within the last 5 years.

Which countries can’t participate in the DV Lottery?

To balance the mix of nationalities in the USA, the following countries are currently not eligible for the Green Card Lottery:




China (including Hong Kong SAR)


Dominican Republic

El Salvador









South Korea

United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its territories



Apply for a Green Card through marriage

How To Apply For A Green Card
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To be eligible to get a green card this way, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by an immediate relative who is at least 21 years of age and is either a U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanent resident. Marriage is a common way this is done, but the marriage must be genuine and not simply undertaken for immigration purposes—intent is key.

Actually, speaking more generally about this way of immigrating, there are two types of family-based immigrant visas:

Immediate Relatives – these visas are based on a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen, such as a spouse, child or parent. The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year. Processing is done expeditiously—usually taking say around a year or so.

Family Preference – these visas are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and certain specified relationships with a lawful permanent resident. The number of immigrants in these categories is limited each fiscal year. Processing takes longer, usually for years—sometimes decades.

Are you still a U.S. Green Card holder if you get divorced from your U.S. citizen spouse?

A person who immigrates to the US and has been married for less than 2 years at the time of application will receive a two-year conditional green card. In order to obtain a permanent Green Card, a conditional Green Card holder must file an application with USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) two years prior to the date of marriage from the time he or she enters the United States as a permanent resident of the United States.

During this period, if the marriage is still happy, the husband and wife will jointly apply for the removal of the conditional residence status to receive a permanent Green Card. Conversely, if the marriage breaks up within the two-year conditional residency period, the sponsored person's immigration status will be canceled and they may be deported.

Get a Green Card through your job

You may be eligible for a Green Card through employment. In general, to be eligible for an employment-based Green Card, you must be sponsored by your employer through the “Labor Certification” process.

In order to obtain a Green Card through Labor Certification, the employer must conduct recruitment and submit an application with the Department of Labor showing that there are no employees available or qualified to fill the advertised position. Certain categories of applicants are eligible for an employment-based Green Card without a Labor Certification.

Get a Green Card based on study

Get a student visa to study at a U.S. college to get a bachelor’s or master’s degree. That will entitle you to a one-year post-graduate work permit called Optional Practical Training.

Following the one year, get your boss to apply for an H1B work visa for you. Then, get the boss to apply for labor certification from the Department of Labor evidencing that there are no American workers who are ready, willing and able to take the job.

Then apply for a green card through the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

This is a long and winding road, full of agony, but it may be the only option for many applicants, especially those who have skills but little money to invest and no family in the USA.

Get a green card for investment in the US

There are 2 ways to invest in the US to get a green card: direct investment and indirect investment.

Direct investment is an investor who opens a branch, company or buys an existing business and creates 10 full-time jobs for 2 consecutive years.

An indirect investment is an investment in a project of a Regional Center.

Achievement-based Green Cards

This is of course the most difficult way to get a green card but those who made achievements can easily get a Green Card with conditions.

Achievement-based immigration requires proof that the person meets a certain level of achievement in his or her field. One achievement-based category requires a permanent job offer. In the other two, the foreign citizen can self-petition. Achievement-based green card opportunities are available in a broad array of fields. These are the three most commonly used categories:

Aliens of Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A). Must have "risen to the small percentage at the very top of his or her field." A permanent job is not required.

Outstanding professors or researchers (EB-1B). Must be "internationally recognized as outstanding." Permanent job is required.

National interest waivers (NIW). Must meet three-part test:

work must be of substantial intrinsic merit; benefits of work must be national in scope; and person must prospectively benefit national interest to substantially greater degree than could a U.S. worker with the "same minimum qualifications." Permanent job is required.

I am a refugee/asylee. How can I get a Green Card?

Immigrants who arrive in the United States as a refugee or an asylee can apply for a green card one year after entering the country. This also applies to immediate family members of asylees. Here’s what refugees and asylum seekers need to know:

Refugees must submit an application for a green card after being in the country for a year.

Asylees are not required to apply for green cards.

Refugees or Asylees typically do not need to file an immigrant petition such as an I-130 or I-140 with the USCIS if they meet the requirements to apply for a green card. They can file for I-485 adjustment of status directly.

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