Apply for Green Card

Having a Green Card allows you to live and work permanently in the United States. The steps you must take to apply for a Green Card will vary depending on your individual situation.

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The steps you must take to apply for a Green Card will vary depending on your individual situation. However, here is the general process that most applicants will go through:

1. Someone (“sponsor” or petitioner) usually must file an immigrant petition for you. In some cases ( for example VAWA self-petitioner), you may be eligible to file for yourself.

2. After USCIS approves the immigrant petition, and there is a visa available in your category, you file either a Green Card application with USCIS or a visa application with the U.S. Department of State.

3. You go to a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photos, and a signature.

4. You go to an interview.

5. You receive a decision on your application.

 

Are you eligible to apply?

The eligibility requirements may vary depending on the immigrant category you are applying under. See Green Card Eligibility Categories below, all the possible categories you can apply under and what the eligibility requirements are.

Green Card applicants will need to complete at least two forms: an Immigrant Petition and a Green Card application. Here are the most common forms:

 

Green Card through Family

You may be eligible to apply as a…
Immediate relative of a U.S. citizen
If you are the…
  • Spouse of a U.S. citizen
  • Unmarried child under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen
  • Parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old
Other relative of a U.S. citizen or relative of a lawful permanent resident under the family-based preference categories
If you are the…Family member of a U.S. citizen, meaning you are the:
  • Unmarried son or daughter of a U.S. citizen and you are 21 years old or older
  • Married son or daughter of a U.S. citizen
  • Brother or sister of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old

Family member of a lawful permanent resident, meaning you are the:

  • Spouse of a lawful permanent resident
  • Unmarried child under the age of 21 of a lawful permanent resident
  • Unmarried son or daughter of a lawful permanent resident 21 years old or older
Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or the fiancé(e)’s child
If you are the…
  • Person admitted to the U.S. as a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen (K-1 nonimmigrant)
  • Person admitted to the U.S. as the child of a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen (K-2 nonimmigrant)
Widow(er) of a U.S. citizen
If you are the…Widow or widower of a U.S. citizen and you were married to your U.S. citizen spouse at the time your spouse died
VAWA self-petitioner – victim of battery or extreme cruelty
If you are the…
  • Abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Abused child (unmarried and under 21 years old) of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Abused parent of a U.S. citizen
You may be eligible to apply as a…If you are the…
Immediate relative of a U.S. citizen
  • Spouse of a U.S. citizen
  • Unmarried child under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen
  • Parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old
Other relative of a U.S. citizen or relative of a lawful permanent resident under the family-based preference categoriesFamily member of a U.S. citizen, meaning you are the:
  • Unmarried son or daughter of a U.S. citizen and you are 21 years old or older
  • Married son or daughter of a U.S. citizen
  • Brother or sister of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old

Family member of a lawful permanent resident, meaning you are the:

  • Spouse of a lawful permanent resident
  • Unmarried child under the age of 21 of a lawful permanent resident
  • Unmarried son or daughter of a lawful permanent resident 21 years old or older
Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or the fiancé(e)’s child
  • Person admitted to the U.S. as a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen (K-1 nonimmigrant)
  • Person admitted to the U.S. as the child of a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen (K-2 nonimmigrant)
Widow(er) of a U.S. citizenWidow or widower of a U.S. citizen and you were married to your U.S. citizen spouse at the time your spouse died
VAWA self-petitioner – victim of battery or extreme cruelty
  • Abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Abused child (unmarried and under 21 years old) of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Abused parent of a U.S. citizen

 

Green Card through Refugee or Asylee Status
You may be eligible to apply as a… If you are the…
Asylee Were granted asylum status at least 1 year ago
Refugee Were admitted as a refugee at least 1 year ago
Green Card through Employment
You may be eligible to apply as a… If you are the…
Immigrant worker Are a first preference immigrant worker, meaning you:
  • Have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, or
  • Are an outstanding professor or researcher, or
  • Are a multinational manager or executive who meets certain criteria
Are a second preference immigrant worker, meaning you:
  • Are a member of a profession that requires an advanced degree, or
  • Have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, or
  • Are seeking a national interest waiver
Are a third preference immigrant worker, meaning you are:
  • A skilled worker (meaning your job requires a minimum of 2 years training or work experience), or
  •  A professional (meaning your job requires at least a U.S. bachelor's degree or a foreign equivalent and you are a member of the profession), or
  • An unskilled worker (meaning you will perform unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training or experience)
Physician National Interest Waiver Are a physician who agrees to work full-time in clinical practice in a designated underserved area for a set period of time and also meets other eligibility requirements
Immigrant investor Have invested or are actively in the process of investing at least $1 million (or $500,000 in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. which will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees.
Green Card for Victims of Abuse
You may be eligible to apply as a… If you are the…
 VAWA self-petitioner – victim of battery or extreme cruelty
  • The abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • The abused child (unmarried and under 21 years old) of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • The abused parent of a U.S. citizen
Special Immigrant Juvenile Are a child who has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by your parent and you have SIJ status
An abused (victim of battery or extreme cruelty) spouse or child under the Cuban Adjustment Act The abused spouse or child of a Cuban native or citizen
An abused (victim of battery or extreme cruelty) spouse or child under Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) The abused spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident who received his or her Green Card based on HRIFA
Green Card as a Special Immigrant
You may be eligible to apply as a… If you are the…
Religious worker Are a member of a religious denomination coming to the U.S. to work for a nonprofit religious organization
Special Immigrant Juvenile Are a child who has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by your parent and you have SIJ status
Afghanistan or Iraq national
International broadcaster Are coming to work in the U.S. as a member of the media
Employee of an international organization or family member or NATO-6 employee or family member Are a retired officer or employee of certain international organizations, or NATO, and certain family members Go to the Green Card through Other Categories section for information on other eligibility categories for diplomats.
Green Card for Human Trafficking and Crime Victims
You may be eligible to apply as a… If you are the…
Human trafficking victim Currently have a T nonimmigrant visa
Crime victim Currently have a U nonimmigrant visa
Green Card through Registry
You may be eligible to register for a Green Card if you have resided continuously in the U.S. since before Jan. 1, 1972.
Green Card through Other Categories
Sponsor’s Household Size100% of HHS Poverty Guidelines* For sponsors on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces who are petitioning for their spouse or child
Diversity Immigrant Visa Program Were selected for a diversity visa in the Department of State’s diversity visa lottery
Cuban Adjustment Act
  •  Are a Cuban native or citizen, or
  • Are the spouse or child of a Cuban native or citizen
An abused (victim of battery or extreme cruelty) spouse or child under the Cuban Adjustment Act Are the abused spouse or child of a Cuban native or citizen
Dependent status under the HRIFA Are the spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident who received his or her Green Card based on the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA)
An abused (victim of battery or extreme cruelty) spouse or child under HRIFA Are the abused spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident who received his or her Green Card based on HRIFA
Lautenberg parolee Were paroled into the U.S. as a Lautenberg parolee
Indochinese Parole Adjustment Act of 2000 Are a native or citizen of Vietnam, Kampuchea (Cambodia), or Laos who was paroled into the U.S. on or before Oct. 1, 1997 from Vietnam under the Orderly Departure Program, a refugee camp in East Asia, or a displaced person camp administered by UNHCR in Thailand.
American Indian born in Canada Have 50% or more of blood of the American Indian race and were born in Canada

After USCIS approves the immigrant petition, and there is a visa available in your category, and you either

file a Green Card application with USCIS or

file Visa Application with the U.S. Department of State.

What application process to useYour next steps
Adjustment of status with USCIS     
What application process to useYour next steps
Consular Processing with the U.S. Department of State.     Go to our Consular Processing page for the next steps    

 

How much does it cost to apply for a green card?

TitleUSCIS FeeBiometrics Fee
Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • A biometric services fee is required from applicants 14 - 78 years of age.
$1,140 85
Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • If under 14 years of age and Filing with the Form I-485 of at least one parent;
$750 N/A
Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • If under 14 years of age and NOT filing with the Form I-485 of at least one parent.
$1,140 N/A
Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • If filing for adjustment as a refugee under INA section 209(a) 
No Fee N/A

If you already submitted a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and your case is pending with USCIS, go to USCIS While Your Green Card Application Is Pending with USCIS page for more information on checking your case status, updating your address, and making appointments with USCIS.

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Your Attorney Compiles your Case, you Sign, and your Attorney Submits. Your attorney prepares all necessary USCIS forms and any supporting materials in their power. If there is supporting documentation that only you as the client have access to (ex: former employer letters), they will tell you exactly what you need to do and provide you with samples, so you can get the correct documentation. Once everything is ready, your attorney will compile your case into a professional legal petition, with a cover letter and a table of contents that will please USCIS and/or the other immigration authorities. They will check everything again, and send it to you to print and sign, via our secure online system. You will print and sign your completed case, and mail it to us in the envelope we provide. Your attorney will verify that you signed in the correct places, and they will send it off to the correct USCIS Dropbox, processing center, or other authority. It is possible that USCIS or other immigration authorities may request additional documentation/clarification regarding your petition. Your attorney will handle any such requests, communicating with you as required. Please visit our How our Legal Services Work page.*

 

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She was perfect! It was such a luck to have Julia Greenberg referred to me by my acquaintance. She is the most caring and helpful attorney I have ever worked with. She is very professional and knowledgeable in the immigration law, and she gave me great advice! I appreciate most that she is always available by phone or returns missed calls shortly – this is something that many attorneys in NYC do not do or have their assistants do who never give the correct answer. I approached Julia to help me prepare for my citizenship interview since I had, frankly speaking, not an easy case, and she did the best  job I could expect. I could not imagine how my interview would have gone without her; her support was significant! If I ever have a question about any immigration matter I would definitely ask Julia for help again. Awesome

Anya Shapkina  on July 6, 2017

Julia Greenberg helps me during the interview process and advises me on the process followed. She is very supportive and handles. She impressed me not only with the professionalism, but also with the art of communication as an outstanding attorney.She is quick to respond to any question that I have. Julia has helped me every step of the way with my case. Thank you!!

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Julia is very professional, competent and knows how to get the best deal for her clients. What we appreciated about her service was that she always answered our calls or got back to us in a very short amount of time. We had a very stressful issue with the officer but Julia was able resolve it and have our case successfully processed the same day. We could have not done it without her. She is a smart lawyer and a great negotiator with a wonderful personality. Hire Julia Greenberg if you want to get a real result!

Alesya

Becoming a US citizen entails specific rights, duties and following benefits: consular protection outside the United States; ability to sponsor relatives living abroad; ability to invest in US. real property without triggering additional taxes; transmitting US citizenship to children; protection from deportation and others. U.S. law permits multiple citizenship. A citizen of another country naturalized as a U.S. citizen may retain his previous citizenship

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