If you are seeking lawful permanent residence (a “green card”), the application process will be determined by whether you are inside or outside the United States. Certain applicants who are already present in the United States may be able to apply for Adjustment of Status from within the country. If you are not in the United States or are not eligible to apply for Adjustment of Status, you can apply for a green card through the U.S. Department of State consulate in your country of origin. Learn more about the steps to take when applying for a green card from outside the United States:
The first step toward obtaining a green card is determining how you are eligible. Most often, this is based on the sponsorship of a family member or employer, but there are special humanitarian categories as well.
Your sponsoring family member will first file a petition on your behalf. Errors can delay the process, so it is helpful to have an experienced immigration lawyer prepare your application and supporting documentation. A lawyer can also help you appeal if the petition is denied. If, however, the petition is accepted, it will be sent to the National Visa Center. You will then be notified when an immigrant visa becomes available.
To receive the immigrant visa, you must attend an interview at the consular office in your home country. Before the immigrant visa interview, you must attend a biometrics appointment and obtain a medical examination. The consular officer will review all your documentation to ensure that you are eligible for the immigrant visa. A successful interview will allow you to travel back to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. You will be given a “visa packet,” but it is not to be opened. This will be presented when you arrive in the United States. If your visa is denied at your interview, it may be because you are temporarily inadmissible to the United States and may need to file an I-601 or an I-212 inadmissibility waiver. Our office can help you file the waiver as part of your case so that you can travel back to the United States to reunite with your family if it is approved.
Once you’ve arrived in the United States, your visa packet is given to the Customs and Border Patrol agent at your port of entry. This agent will review the documents and determine whether you are allowed to enter the country. If you are admitted, it is as a lawful permanent resident. You have permission to live and work in the United States indefinitely (subject to the renewal of your green card and remaining eligible). Your physical green card is mailed to you after your entry into the United States.
Applying for a green card is never easy. If you are outside the country, however, the process can be even more confusing, stressful, costly, and time-consuming. The Law Office of Robert D. Ahlgren and Associates, P.C., works with immigrants and their family members every day to obtain green cards through Consular Processing Applications. We have helped many Chicago members of the immigrant community obtain lawful immigration status to keep their families together, and we can help you, too. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Chicago immigration attorneys.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.