How 1.1 Million People Get A Green Card Every Year
Approximately 1.1 million people get a green card every year and become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States. Currently, there is a waiting list of nearly 4 million people who want green cards, the overwhelming majority of them are relatives of U.S. citizens, especially siblings. Pew Research reported that more than half of new green card holders already live in the US on temporary visas.
According to the Department of Homeland Security,
A lawful permanent resident (LPR), or “green card” recipient, is defined in immigration law as a person who has been granted “the status of having been lawfully accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States as an immigrant in accordance with the immigration laws, such status not having changed.” LPRs may live and work permanently anywhere in the United States, own property, and attend schools, colleges, and universities. They may also join the Armed Forces and apply to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain additional eligibility requirements.
How To Get a Green Card and Become a Lawful Permanent Resident
There are two paths to getting a green card:
- Apply for LPR status from within the United States: Adjustment of Status
Eligible individuals who are in the United States must file a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These applicants can apply for authorization to accept employment while their Form I-485 is pending. If their application is approved, they generally are granted LPR status at the time of approval. In general, most immigrants file their immigrant visa petition in conjunction with Form I-485. This process is called “adjustments of status.”Visa holders “adjust their status” to Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).
- Apply for LPR status from abroad: New Arrivals
Eligible foreign nationals who are abroad can apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Department of State (DOS) consular office following receipt and approval of a petition on their behalf (if sponsored by a family member or employer) and, if visas are numerically limited, based on the availability of a visa number. Once they are issued an immigrant visa, a foreign national can seek admission to the United States and become an LPR when admitted at a port of entry. Applicants who apply for LPRs from abroad and admitted to the United States are called to “new arrivals.”
While 1.1 million people get a green card every year, with another 4 million people on the visa waitlist, it’s critical that immigration applicants make smart decisions and understand the eligibility requirements. Whether you are applying for a green card from within the United States or from abroad, there are many issues that can create substantial delays and extra costs and can be extremely challenging to overcome. An experienced immigration attorney can advise you of your best options to successfully apply for a green card and help you avoid mistakes that cost you time and money – and can result in your immigration application being delayed or denied.
A skilled green card lawyer could help fight for your constitutional rights. To learn more, contact an attorney today to set up a consultation. Mario Godoy and the other knowledgeable attorneys at the Godoy Law Office can assess your situation and advise you on your best options. Call today at 312-736-0424.