The US Green Card is an essential document for individuals who intend to move and live in America for a long period. In addition, a significant number of people who already live in the USA want to receive it. The advantage is that Green Card holders are forever exempt from the obligation to obtain a US visa since it allows permanent residence in the country.
You can leave the country to visit relatives, travel to other countries, and then return without any problems. In addition, you have the right to get an education, work legally, and open your own business. A Green Card gives the same rights as an official US citizen has, except the right to vote in elections.
How to Apply for a Green Card?
A Green Card can be issued based on family ties with an American, investment in the state economy, employment, winning the Diversity Visa Lottery, or refugee status. Either way, you must complete the DS-260 and submit it to USCIS.
Guidelines for Completing Form DS-260
Here are the main sections and brief information you should provide:
- First and last name. You must indicate your first and last name in English exactly as shown in the passport;
- E-mail address. It is worth pointing it as one of your contacts so that USCIS can contact you if necessary (for example, to request extra documents);
- Place and country of birth. You should provide the full address of your birthplace;
- Date of birth. It is usually indicated in the format day-month-year;
- Postal address, telephone number. Determine the address where you plan to live for the next 6 months. You can specify two phone numbers: home and mobile;
- Education. You should select only completed education and its level (secondary, secondary specialized, secondary technical, higher, etc.);
- Family status. Marital status single/unmarried is indicated only when there are no previous marriages;
- Children. You must mention all your children under 21 who are not US residents and do not yet have their own families;
- Husband. Please include information about your husband such as last name, first name, date and place of birth, completed education, and photo;
- Photos. It is required to upload a photo taken on a light background (as on a document) at least 6 months ago. Photos in nature, on the beach, with attractions, etc., are not accepted. The face should be clearly visible.
Can I Check My Green Card Status After Filling Out an Application?
Green Card applications are usually processed within 7-33 months. You can check the processing stage through USCIS. But you need to have Form I-797C, which contains important access data.
Form I-797C is a notification that USCIS sends after receiving a candidate's Green Card application. It contains the receipt number that must be used in further communication with USCIS. Form I-797C also includes additional information about the procedures that must be completed to obtain a Green Card.
How Can I Use a Receipt Number to Track the Application Status?
If you carefully study Form I-797C, you will see a 13-character number starting with 3 letters, such as SRC, LIN, or WAC. This unique number is assigned to the Green Card application upon USCIS registration. Using this number, you can easily track the status of your request on the USCIS online service.
Can I Get Information About My Application Status by Telephone?
Do not be discouraged if you have difficulty tracking the status of your Green Card using the method described above. You can easily find out the current stage of your application processing by calling the USCIS support service (use the number 1-800-870-3676). Customer service representatives always provide quick assistance.
Can I Find Out Its Status in Person?
You can also check the status of your application d in person. Just visit your nearest USCIS office.
What Should I Do If My Address Changes?
Regardless of the reason, people who change their residential address while their Green Card applications are being processed should notify USCIS as soon as possible. There are several available ways:
- Online. Visit the USCIS online service and fill out Form AR-11;
- By mail. Complete Form AR-11 and send it to the address listed on the form;
- By phone. Contact the USCIS support service and report your new address. Be sure to mention the receipt number in this case.
Updating your address may take some time. Therefore, don’t forget to check the Green Card status in any convenient way described above and your email for notifications.
Can I Stay in America While Waiting for a Green Card Approval?
You may stay in the USA while awaiting a decision on your Green Card request. But if you have a non-immigrant visa, you must monitor its validity and renew it if necessary. If your visa expires before receiving a Green Card, you should leave America or apply for a visa extension.
What About Travelling While Waiting for a Green Card?
If you have applied for a Green Card and it has not yet been approved, you can travel outside the US only after submitting Form I-131 to USCIS. If it is approved, you can go on a trip. But you should not leave the country if your application is not approved. Otherwise, USCIS may consider this as abandoning your Green Card request.