Key Steps in Applying for Family or Marriage-Based Green Card

The Green Card Application Process

Individuals yearn to migrate to the United States with their entire family or their spouses with the intention of living a good life and enjoying the benefits that come with being a US citizen. The application process for spouses is typically handled by their petitioners, or their spouses that are US citizens.  

The green card or permanent residence card is obtained through marriage to a US citizen, enabling the green card holder to live in the country and eventually become naturalized once they are eligible for it. 

Family and marriage based green card applications are often seen as the quickest way to obtain permanent residence. However, there are still qualifications the individual must adhere to in order to obtain citizenship and enjoy the privileges that come with being a citizen. 

Applying for a US visa is more than just a walk at the park. There are certain requirements to be submitted and the waiting period can take quite a long time, with the risk of rejection being ever present. However, getting approved makes waiting all the more worth it. 

Consult with an Eatontown immigration lawyer to straighten out any concerns you might have regarding applying for a US visa. 


Permanent Resident Files for US Visa

The process of applying for a US visa starts with the permanent resident. The permanent resident advises the USCIS or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services about their intention of petitioning an immigrant with proof that the family exists. The permanent resident mails a visa petition called a USCIS Form I-130 that contains important documents such as birth, marriage certificate, and US citizenship proof. 

The case only proceeds upon approval. There are cases where waiting for the USCIS approval isn’t needed, such as when the immigrant is an immediate relative. A concurrent filing for adjustment may also be accomplished by the petitioner and the beneficiary. 


USCIS Decides on Visa Petition

applying for us visa

In cases wherein the USCIS’ decision on the visa application is needed, the applicant is advised to wait for months. Upon approval, the USCIS forwards the application to the National Visa Center (NVC) which processes it further. For cases involving immediate relatives applying for US visa, the National Visa Center immediately sends the paperwork to the petitioner asking for further proof of relationship and financial capacity. This file is called the USCIS Form I-864

There are also cases wherein the application is denied. In cases as such, it is best to consult with an immigration lawyer to help guide you with the errors and possible areas of improvement. An immigration lawyer can also explain complicated concepts to you to help make your application seamless. 


Wait for Visa Availability (Applicable only to preference relatives)

Preference relatives are known as the spouses and children of green card holders and siblings of US citizens that are married. These individuals aren’t automatically eligible for a green card due to the yearly limit on the approval number. Waiting for this visa availability can take years and the immigrant’s place is secured by a priority date. The priority date is when the I-130 petition reached the USCIS. 


Immigrant Applies for Green Card or Immigrant Visa

Upon the visa petition’s approval, the immigrant must then submit a permanent residence application. The steps for accomplishing this includes applying for a visa at the U.S. consulate outside the United States where the consulate and the NVC communicate directly with the immigrant. The officers inform the immigrant of the necessary documents and the medical examinations they must take along with an in-person interview. 

The process above is known as consular processing. There is another method for applying for a US visa as an immigrant. This is called adjustment of status. Adjustment of status takes place in the USCIS office. It is a rare process which is applicable for only a small number of immigrants already in the United States. In this process, once the petition is approved, the immigrant needn’t wait for a signal from the USCIS and rather they must prepare the adjustment of status application and mail it to the USCIS who will then process it. 

Allow an experienced immigration lawyer to explain visa application processes and eliminate any confusions. The immigration lawyer can help you with any issues you encounter when applying for a US visa. 


Obtaining the Green Card

Once all the steps have been followed, the applicant can expect to obtain their actual green card. An immigrant who applied at a US consulate enters the United States with an immigrant visa and attains permanent residence status


What Happens if the Green Card is Denied?

No one wants to hear that their green card has been denied. Knowing that your efforts in applying for a US visa has been turned down can be disappointing. However, we should face an all too real scenario: yes, rejections do happen in US visa applications

Reasons for having your green card application denied varies. Health reasons and existing criminal cases are top reasons for application rejection. Public charge or if the USCIS sees you as a potential dependent on the government is also grounds for rejection. 

Other reasons that your application for a US visa may be denied include failure to submit the necessary requirements, failure to attend appointments, and denial of underlying visa petition. 

If you find your green card application denied, know that you can always file a motion to reopen. Individuals who applied for a green card with an application to adjust status can file Form I-290B within 30 days of rejection or 33 days when notified by mail. 

Rejected permanent residency applications applied at a US consulate abroad can have the principal consular officer review the application and get a second opinion. In cases like this, there is usually no appeal available. The only resort is to file the application all over again.

Refiling your green card is a complex process and it would truly benefit you to enlist the help of an immigration attorney to walk you through the ordeal. 


Seek Legal Help

Applying for a US visa might seem easy but there are steps that one must meticulously follow in order to get approved. Of course, application is not without complications so it is advisable to seek legal help from a reliable immigration attorney at Andres Mejer Law by calling (888) 695-6169. The firm’s experienced immigration lawyer can help you understand concepts regarding US visa application and guiding you through the process should you need to refile your application.

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