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The Green Card Process (Video)

The decision to make the United States your home is a big decision. Starting the application process to become a permanent resident (Green Card) may seem relatively straightforward, but there can be an assortment of confusing issues that can jeopardize the outcome. Each of the immigration application forms in the green card process has words that are based on years of immigration cases or immigration statutes. The word’s plain meaning may be different from the meaning under immigration law.

Watch: Immigration Attorney Mario Godoy Discusses The Green Card Process


I’m Mario Godoy.  I’m an immigrant who founded Godoy Law Office to help other immigrants to come and to remain in the United States. Today I want to give you an overview of the process for becoming a legal permanent resident.

There may be as many as four steps the first one is filing the petition a marriage interview if the petition is marriage-based, in an adjustment of status or consular processing and finally inspection, an admission by US Customs and Border Patrol known as CBP.

Step 1

The first step is filing an immigrant visa petition on Form I-130. You also want to present documentation with US Citizenship and Immigration Services. It’s important to know that USCIS is really only screening to see that there exists a qualifying relationship, it is not screening for any potential grounds of inadmissibility. Depending on the relationship claimed, different rules will apply and different supporting documentation will be required.

Step 2

The second step in the marriage-based cases is an interview. USDS may schedule an interview with parties or conduct an independent investigation to determine the validity of the marriage. Whenever USCS schedules a marriage interview, the parties should be prepared to establish the validity of the marriage. That can be done through documentary evidence, photos, testimony the testimony or affidavits of friends and relatives.

Step 3

The next step is to determine whether the parties are eligible to adjust status or if they intend to consular process because of the myriad of options available. I suggest that you speak to a qualified immigration attorney to determine if you are eligible to adjust status. In the vast majority of cases if a person is not eligible to adjust they will then consider a consular processing. Regarding Adjustment of Status and consular processing: each case is fact-intensive and often different rules will apply to a person based on their personal circumstances.

Explaining this analysis is beyond the scope of this video and there are very real consequences to filing an application that you do not qualify for, or acting on an immigration case without knowing the law consequences such as deportation or even being blocked from returning to the United States by being deemed inadmissible. You need to consider all grounds of inadmissibility that may apply and these grounds are under Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

I cannot stress the importance of speaking to an immigration attorney prior to leaving the United States or prior to filing your case with USCIS. Even if you decide to go it alone, a good immigration evaluation can save you time money and your ability to liv in the United States.

Our processing is a process by which a person immigrated to the United States by being interviewed at a US Embassy outside of the United States. This process is controlled mostly by the Department of States and it’s performed by the National Visa Center and the immigrant visa sections at the U.S. Consulate.

Applicants for family-based immigrant visas will apply at the US consulate if they are residing abroad or if they are ineligible or elect not to adjust status in the United States. Prior to consular processing, you may need to consider filing a stateside provisional waiver of inadmissibility. This waiver will help wave inadmissibility for foreign nationals who are unlawfully present in the United States for one year or more after April 1st of 1997, and who depart and then again seek admission. This set of people are inadmissible for a period of 10 years from the day they depart. However, the sole grounds admissibility can be waived prior to them leaving the United States and so it’s important to note that form I-601 they will not waive any other ground of inadmissibility that may apply to you.

Once again I cannot stress the importance of consulting an immigration attorney to determine the rules and the waivers that apply to you.

Once consular processing is complete a person will receive an immigrant visa from the US consulate.  That immigrant visa is usually valid for a period of six months.

Step 4

The final step is presenting themselves for an inspection and admission before a CBP or USCIS official at the border even though the Department of State has considered the applicant eligible for admission as an immigrant, CBP also has the right to make a separate determination. Once admitted, you are a legal permanent resident of the United States.

I hope that this overview of how to get a Green Car was very informative. If you feel ready to take the next step, please contact our Chicago, Illinois immigration attorneys at 855-554-6369. 

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