With a green card, you can work and live in the United States permanently. It is important to understand the application process before moving forward, as it can be expensive and time-consuming.
Review these steps if you already reside in the U.S. and want to apply to become a permanent resident.
File a petition
First, you have to find out your immigration category. For example, you can apply for employment immigration, family immigration, or as a crime victim or refugee. In some categories, you can submit your own petition. For a family or employment green card, your sponsoring family member or employer must apply for you.
Each immigration category has a designated number of visas from the Department of State. After filing a petition, you will receive a notification when a visa is available for you.
Submit the application
When a visa becomes available, you must submit the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485). You must also send all required documents for your category as well as the filing fee of $1,225.
Attend the appointment
The Department of State will notify you of a required appointment at an Application Support Center in your area. At this session, you will have a background check and a security check. You must also give fingerprints and bring other documents to complete your application as requested. Some applicants will have to give an official interview.
After submitting all the required information, you will receive a written notice of approval or denial. Based on visa availability and other factors, the green card process can take up to three years.