Five Steps for Obtaining a Green Card

A green card allows immigrants to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. Green card holders are called permanent residents. The most common ways to achieve permanent residency are through your family members, or through your job. If you are interested in permanent residency, you need to know the basic steps for obtaining a green card. The process can be complex or lengthy, so in some instances it is helpful to seek assistance from a qualified immigration attorney.

Obtaining a Green Card through a Family Member

Those who apply for green cards must meet the eligibility requirements. To apply for permanent residency through family, you must be an immediate family member of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Immediate family members include spouses, children under the age of 21, unmarried children over the age of 21, and parents. Additionally, the fiancé of a permanent resident may also be eligible to apply.

Getting a Green Card through Employment

To apply for a green card through your job, your employer must file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. In certain situations, your employer must obtain a labor certification. You must have an employment offer before you can get a visa of this type. This type of visa application can take a long time and the employer must meet all the criteria. Employers who have already gone through the process know how the procedure works.

File the Application and Submit Documentation

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provide specific requirements for each type of visa petition submission. You must completely fill out the application, or it could be rejected or denied. In addition to the application, you must also provide any supporting documentation that is requested. The required documentation is listed on the instructions on the application.

Attend a Scheduled Interview for Visa

You will receive written confirmation once your visa application is accepted by the USCIS. You will be notified of a date, time, and location, to attend an interview. You must attend the interview, and bring along any additional information or documentation that is noted on the request. At the time of your interview you may also need to provide fingerprints.

Carry Your Green Card with You at All Times

Once you have been approved for a green card, you are a legal permanent resident of the United States. You must carry your documentation with you at all times, in order to prove your legal status should the need arise. The process of obtaining a green card can be complicated. If you have questions, be sure to contact the experienced immigration team at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Steps for Obtaining a Green Card, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.