When filing for a green card, there are three main areas you should consider: how you qualify, filling out the forms, and passing the interview. All three make up an essential part of the process, and there are critical components to each of which you should be aware.

Before Filing for a Green Card, You Must Qualify for a Green Card

There are a number of ways you can be eligible for a green card—eleven, to be exact. And while some ways are more common than others, it’s always good to have an understanding of all the ways in which you could qualify. Let’s take a look at the types of eligibility:

1. Family-based immigration. This is broken down into the following two categories:

a. Relatives of U.S. citizens

i. Wife or husband
ii. Unmarried child or step-child under the age of 21 (over 21 can also qualify, but it requires different paperwork)
iii. Adopted child under the age of 18
iv. Parent or step-parent
v. Brother or sister
vi. Married son or daughter of any age

b. Relatives of Green Card holders

i. Wife or husband
ii. Unmarried child or stepchild under the age of 21
iii. Adopted child under the age of 18
iv. Unmarried son or daughter over the age of 21

2. Employment based immigration. Eligible individuals with a sponsoring employer, or who have a rare or high-demand skill set.

This segment includes several subcategories. But what they are looking for are Nobel Laureates, individuals who are experts in their fields, people with exceptional abilities (athletes, performers, etc.). It also includes persons viewed as desirable by the Federal Government (defectors, individuals with critical knowledge of foreign governments, etc.), registered nurses, doctors, physical therapists, and more.

3. Green Card lottery. Also known as the “Diversity Visa,” this is a chance for individuals from underrepresented countries to apply and be accepted. For example, someone coming from Mexico or Canada is unlikely to qualify. However, immigrants from Latvia or Borneo stand a much better chance being eligible. NOTE: Even if you qualify, it’s still a drawing; there is no guarantee you will win a spot.

4. Foreign investors. Have a lot of money? If you can plunk down $500,000 investing in a commercial business designed to benefit the U.S. economy and employ at least five people full-time, then this is the category for you!

5. Adoption. Children under 16 years of age who are adopted by U.S. residents or Green Card holders can qualify.

6. Registry. Anyone who has resided in the U.S. since January 1, 1972, and are in good standing with the law, can qualify.

7. Private bill. Anyone Congress believes has a compelling reason to stay (usually humanitarian) and who does not qualify under other categories.

8. Diplomats. Individuals on an A-1 visa who are unable to return home as a result of persecution.

9. Asylum seekers. Foreign-born persons who are unwilling or unable to go home because of persecution based on one (or a combination) of the following factors:

a. Race
b. Religion
c. Nationality
d. Membership in a social or political group

10. Refugees. Foreign nationals who have been pushed out of their home country by war, famine, drought, or political unrest, and who cannot return home for fear of persecution, including those who have experienced persecution in the past.

11. Special immigrants. A large and varied collection of individuals ranging from religious workers to former government employees, to abused spouses of current Green card holders, and more.

Filing the Forms with Customs and Immigration

The key to filing for a green card is to ensure you supply all the information required, in the required format, along with all of the up-to-date forms and paperwork. Where possible, it’s best to fill the documents out online, directly on the USCIS website. NOTE: You have to complete the forms in English!

Once you think you’ve got everything together for filing for a green card, the USCIS recommends the following checks:

• Sign the forms
• Pay the appropriate fee(s)
• Ensure you’ve answered all questions thoroughly, and correctly
• Check that your name and date of birth match, and are identical on every form
• Mail the forms to the appropriate address using USPS, or other approved service such as UPS and FedEx.

Tips for Passing the Interview when Filing for a Green Card

Be prepared to answer a host of personal questions about your life when filing for a green card. This can include inquiries about associates of your family, your marital relations, the décor in your house, and whether or not you like your in-laws (if you say no, they won’t hold it against you).

Most of all, you want to answer all questions truthfully and to the best of your ability. The interview is designed to identify individuals who are trying to game the system. The can be as innocent as pretending to be in love, to as nefarious as entering the U.S. with the intent to perpetrate illegal activities, including terrorism.

Ready to Schedule Your Free Consultation to Get Info about Filing for a Green Card?

Need help filing for a green card? Call (404) 892-8300 to speak with our qualified, experienced legal team and get your free consultation scheduled today.