A US Permanent Resident Card, or Green Card, is a document issued to the holder of a permanent resident card in the United States. Most non-US citizens apply for a green card because it promises to open up opportunities for them to invest in a variety of businesses in the US, with the added benefit of being able to enjoy all including the benefits of living in the United States.
Applying for a green card can prove to be a difficult task as it involves a series of steps and procedures—apart from the eligibility criteria—that the applicant is required to follow. Some of the ways in which people can apply for the green card are:
- Through family: If the applicant is an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, he/she can apply for the green card.
- Through employment: Under this category, an immigrant worker, a physician, or an immigrant investor can be eligible to apply for the card.
- As a Special Immigrant: The applicant is eligible to apply for the card if he is either a religious worker, an Afghani or Iraqi national, or an international broadcaster working in the media.
- Through the Registry: A provision of immigration law known as the Registry gives some people who have been in the country since January 1, 1972, the opportunity to apply for a green card (permanent residency), even if they are currently doing so unlawfully.
While each category might have its own procedures and processes at the application stage, there are a few common steps and requirements to apply for the green card—after the applicant has confirmed that he is eligible for the programme:
- Adjustment of status: This is a process used to apply for the status when the applicant is, at the time of application, present in the United States.
As an alternative, the applicant can apply for the permanent residency card programme via the
consular processing option
. This is a process used to apply for the status when the applicant is not present in the United States at the time of application and requests an immigrant visa to enter the country and be admitted as a permanent resident.
- Visa availability and other documents: In most cases, the applicant is required to have a visa and other official travel documents before they can submit an application for a green card.
- Employment authorization document: Regardless of citizenship or country of origin, American companies are required to verify that each employee is qualified to work in the country. The applicants’ employment authorization documents are cross-checked to accomplish this.
Green Card Transfer
While the majority of green card holders opt to keep their current status, there are occasionally cases where a candidate who applied for a green card under a particular category seeks to transfer his status under the option of adjustment of status. This is, as mentioned before, the process that is used to apply for lawful permanent resident status when the applicant is present in the United States. Some cases in which applicants can choose to apply for an adjustment of status are:
- If they choose to adjust to a petition that involves the entire immediate family when they originally applied for the card based on employment,
- If they choose to adjust based on employment when they initially applied for adjustment as the spouse of a citizen of the United States.
- If they initially applied for both adjustment and an employment-based petition and then chose to adjust to a family-based petition, and so on.
The choice to approve or reject a transfer request is always up to the category administrator, just like with any other program. When deciding whether to approve a transfer request, a number of eligibility variables are taken into account.
- Eligibility for Status Changes
There must not be a lapse in the applicant’s eligibility to adjust before the submission of the transfer request application. This requirement has been created in order to transfer an adjustment application smoothly from one basis to another. A transfer cannot be authorised if a candidate does not continue to be eligible after the transfer is requested.
- Substitute Category Eligibility
To switch to a new eligibility basis, the applicant must produce proof of eligibility for the new immigrant category. Such a transfer request should be handled as though it were a new filing.
- Instantly obtainable visa
The applicant must hold an available visa in the new immigrant category to shift an adjustment application to a new basis containing a preference classification.
The steps or requirements under the green card transfer application are as follows:
- Requests made in writing
The applicant is required to fill out Form I-485 to place a request and add a request in writing to adjust the status. If the candidate is qualified to adjust immediately to the new classification, the procedure moves to the next stage without further delay.
- They are also required to:
- Send in a petition asking for the transfer of the applicant’s pending adjustment application to the new petition.
- Include supporting documentation for the transfer request.
- Fill out Forms I-140 (for employment-based transfers) and I-130 (for family-based transfers).
With that said, it’s important to note that transfer requests can be approved or denied at the manager’s discretion. The officer may consider factors such as the impact of additional processing time required to gather evidence supporting the applicant’s new claim, factors such as the reason for the claim, the existence or absence of evidence to support new claims, degree of difficulty in obtaining a required receipt, degree of difficulty in determining the applicant’s continued eligibility based on the claim or initial basis, etc., before granting the applicant their green card transfer.
While some studies indicate that the opportunity to convert to a green card is rare and comes with a rather tedious effort or even a fortuitous circumstance, other studies, to an equal extent, , confirmed that the transfer had indeed been made. , regardless of the length of the process, and guarantees the applicant all the benefits that an initial green card provides.