Immigration. Travel. Living.

U.S. Green Card acquisition

Statue of Liberty.

There are several ways of acquiring the Green Card. However, most of those who get permanent resident permission, are those backed by a family member or employer in the United States.

Let’s go through the basics steps that you should go through in order to get permanent resident status in U.S.

Green Card application procedure

All of the applications go through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After they have approved your Green Card application, you will be invited to “consular processing” at your counties Unites States embassy.

In general, there are eight types of Green Cards. The main categories that most people get the permanent resident status under are the following.

  • Immigration through Green Card lottery – “Diversity Visa Program”;
  • Immigration through “Employment-based categories” like job or investment;
  • Immigration through “Family-based categories”.

Requirements, application processes and other features like waiting time, the responsible authorities and even costs will vary. They depend on the type of visa you are applying to.

Step 1: Figure out if you are eligible

First, you have to see if you are eligible to get permanent resident status. This means that you need to go through the available categories and see if you fall into one of them.

All eight categories of the ways you could be granted a green card are as listed below:

  • Through family;
  • Through employment;
  • As a special agent;
  • As a refugee or if you have asylee status;
  • If you are a victim of human trafficking and crime;
  • If you are a victim of abuse;
  • Through registry;
  • Through other categories (like the lottery, if you are a diplomat, etc.).


Step 2: File an immigration petition and wait for the approval

First, you need to file a petition. Usually, you will have to have someone like a family member or a sponsoring company to file the petition for you. In some cases, you can file it on your own depending on the type of category you are applying for.

Once you have filed in your immigrant petition for your resident permit in the United States, you will have to wait for approval from USCIS. Apart from that, spare visas under the category you applied for should be available. Only then you will be able to get approval.


Step 3: File an application with the USCIS

Once you know that you are eligible to receive a green card in the U.S. and your petition has been approved, you will need to apply for it. The application process can be different for each type of category.

USCIS sign.

If you are already living or staying in the United States, then you should file for an adjustment of status with the USCIS. You will find the necessary steps to do that on their website.

If you are living outside of the United States, then you will need to register permanent residence through consular processing.


Step 4: Wait until your application is reviewed

After you submit your application, you will have to wait until it gets reviewed by U.S. authorities.

When your application to U.S. permanent resident status will be reviewed, you will receive an invitation for a biometrics appointment. This appointment will be scheduled for you and you will receive an email with all the details.

The appointment is for taking your fingerprints, photo, and provide your signature. This information will be used to confirm your identity and run a background check.

If you live outside of the United States, then this will be handled differently. You will have to apply with two passport-style photographs and submit official fingerprint cards.


Step 5: Accept a scheduled interview and get your green card

After your application is approved, you will get scheduled an interview with the USCIS. At this point, you will not necessarily receive an approval or denial of your application for a U.S. green card. Sometimes more information is needed to process your request. There is no time limit on a definite answer.

Once you have been approved after the interview, you will get your permanent resident status.



In short, you need to see if your eligible to apply for a permanent resident status. Then, you or a third party will need to file an immigration petition. Once you are approved you will have to apply for your Green Card. Your application will get reviewed and you might get an invitation for biometrics appointment.

After that, you will get invited for an interview. This doesn’t mean that you will get approved or denied at this point. You might have to wait a little longer to get your approval.

Washington D.C., Capitol panorama.

These are necessary steps to take before getting your Green Card. While it might seem like a hustle getting approved is worth it.

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