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How Do I Apply to Get a Green Card?

In May 2019, United States President Donald Trump announced a high-level proposal for immigration reform, something his predecessor and a bipartisan group of senior senators have been pushing for years. As can be expected, Trump’s proposal is heavy on border security and misguided protectionism. However, an interesting item caught the attention of immigration lawyers in San Diego and all across the country: the Build America Visa, which would be a sort of replacement for the Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551, also known as a Green Card) issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Since part of the Build America Visa proposal includes the controversial “merit-based” admissibility system championed by Trump, chances are it will be strongly challenged at the legislative and judicial levels. In the meantime, foreigners seeking to live and work in the United States and someday become permanent U.S. residents should follow these steps.

Types of Petitions and Applications

Many foreigners will need to be sponsored by a relative, employer, or organization. One of the most common methods is filing Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), which must be filed by a family member—this is how First Lady Melania Trump’s parents became permanent residents a few years ago. Other petitions include Form I-140 for foreign workers and Form I-360 for special immigrants such as widows and Amerasian individuals. Most petition cases assume applicants are living overseas. Foreigners already living in the U.S. should request Adjustment of Status through Form I-485. In all these cases, assistance from an immigration law firm is highly recommended.

Steps Following Form Review

Filing fees should be included with the initial petition or application. After USCIS reviews the form, a receipt notice is mailed to the applicant along with an appointment to fulfill the biometrics requirement, which involves electronic scanning of fingerprints. If the receipt notice identifies discrepancies, a process to rectify them must be formulated prior to an interview with a case adjudicator.

Green Card Waiting Times

All green card petitions and applications are subject to priority dates. Permanent residence through marriage to U.S. citizens has high priority, but this isn’t the case for many other foreigners, who must wait until their priority dates come around. Depending on the country of origin and visa category, the waiting period could last several years, but it may be shortened and will be announced in the monthly Visa Bulletin.

Green Card Application Denials

An unfortunate aspect of immigration policy during the Trump administration is reflected in the denial rate, which has jumped by more than 35 percent since 2017. In 2018, the number of application denials was higher than 620,000. When applications are denied, the best course of action for applicants is to discuss their options with immigration law attorneys, particularly in cases involving advance parole or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The introduction of the aforementioned immigration reform proposal may bring to light the draconian policies of the Trump administration, thus alleviating the high rate of green card denials.

When they need assistance with any issues relating to U.S. citizenship and immigration services, San Diego residents should reach out to the experienced attorneys at KS Visa Law. From green cards to family immigration to naturalization, we can address all your immigration-related needs. Call us today at 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.

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