Getting a green card can be a very tedious and long process. However, with the right kind of guidance on the green card process steps, the whole procedure could be a lot easier for you. We get queries from NRIs regarding the green card application process steps, total cost of green card processing, green card application process time, green card process costs, how long does the green card process take, and so on. The green card process in USA can be a little complicated, and there are several routes of sponsorship you can take, the most common being the green card process EB2, for Indians. This article should make the process a little easier for you.
What Is A Green Card?
A green card is also known as a permanent resident card. In effect, it works as a permanent visa for entry into the United States of America. Holding a green card gives you permanent resident status within the United States, along with the legal right to be employed in the United States. However, you should know that a green card will not change your citizenship status. For instance, if you are a citizen of India, you will continue to remain a citizen of India even if you are a green card holder. But a green card holder is eligible to apply for US citizenship, provided he/she has stayed in the United States for a specific amount of time. Usually, a green card is offered for a period of ten years, after which it must be renewed. You should also keep in mind that you will automatically lose your green card if you reside outside the US for a period of one year or more.
What Are The Benefits Of Being A Green Card Holder?
There are several benefits of being a green card holder in the United States. In addition to the permanent resident status, you will receive, you will also be eligible for the following benefits under the green card:
- Reside in the United States of America
- Buy your own house or other property in the United States
- Travel between the United States and your home country without a visa/permit
- Look for job opportunities in the United States without any work authorization or work visa
- Sponsor family members for US immigrant visas
- A study in the USA
- Start your own business and register a company in the United States
- Legal protection on par with US citizens while in the country
- Apply for a US citizenship after 5 years of residing in the United States
Green Card Process Steps
While the actual process of getting your green card may be similar, there are several pathways you could adopt while applying for your green card in the United States. Depending on the route that is applicable to you, the process and duration of obtaining your green card may vary as well. Here is a list of the routes you can opt for while applying for your green card in the United States:
1. Sponsorship By An Employer
In this route, you must already be employed as full-time, permanent employment in a job that is based in the United States. However, this is a very long process, and can often get frustrating for the applicants. The employer is first required to file a labor certification with the US Department of Labor, stating the reasons you are qualified for the job. In addition, they also have to prove that no US citizen is qualified to do the job or applied to the job by showing proof like an advertisement for the vacancy in local newspapers, verification of the prevailing wages, skill requirements for the particular job, etc.
2. Sponsorship By A Close Family Member Based In The United States
You may opt for this route if you have a close family member who is already a permanent resident of the United States or is a citizen of the United States. This is also a long process, and it may take years for you to get the green card.
3. Investment-Based Green Card
This is also called the EB5 visa, which is offered to foreign nationals who invest in the United States. Each year, around 10,000 such green cards are offered, with the objective of improving the US economy. This category does not require you to hold a job offer in the United States.
4. Green Card Lottery
This is a diversity-based lottery. Each year, around 50,000 green cards are given to those who are from an underdeveloped nation, with very low rates of immigration to the United States of America.
5. Green Card Through Asylum &Refugee Status
This category is only open to those foreign nationals who have been or fear that they will be prosecuted in their home country for their race, nationality, religion, membership of a social group or political opinions held by them.
Green Card Process Cost?
The fee for applying for a green card is $85. You can always check the revised fees before applying. The total cost of filing for your green card should not exceed $6,000. This is inclusive of the application fees, and the fees your attorney is likely to charge if you are hiring one.
Now that you have a clear idea about the green card process steps, the green card process time, and the green card process costs, green card process EB2 route, you can get started on it. The green card process time is rather long, no matter which route you are applying through. The green card process in USA is not all that easy, but at the end of it, you will be given permanent resident status in the country. If that is what you’re looking for we’re sure you will be able to persevere through the process.