What to Do While Waiting for A Green Card

3 things to do while waiting for green card

The processing time of a green card is approximately two to three years. Now, that is a long time to sit back on your heels. Then again, there are immigration policies that need to be followed while you are waiting. So what else can you do?

It is of no question that the waiting time for your immigration application to be processed can be nerve-wracking. Instead of anxiously waiting, let’s find out what you can do while waiting for your green card. How can you be productive and proactive while your green card application is pending?

Our immigration attorney has suggestions that, not only make you utilize the waiting time but can also help your application go smoothly.


Update your address with the USCIS.

If you move, you must inform USCIS within 10 days of moving to the new address. If you do not update your address, you may not receive important notices about your case. Missing out on appointments could result in denial of your green card application. Take note that changing your address with the U.S. Postal Service will not change your address with USCIS. You must update your information with both USCIS and USPS. You can update your address online through the USCIS page.  

However, there are some green card applicants that are exempted from filing changes online. These individuals need to complete and mail back Form AR-11 known as Alien’s Change of Address Card. The change of address information will go to the USCIS humanitarian division instead of the regular point of filing. The correct mailing address depends on where your original application was filed.  These are 


Make sure you have your Advanced Parole ready.

If you have not done so, apply for Advanced Parole

Advanced Parole allows you to travel while your green card is in process.  

If you need to travel outside of the United States, you can file for  Advanced Parole (using form I-131) or in more formal terms of the USCIS, the “Application for Travel Document”. You are ok to travel with advanced parole if you have no former immigration deportations or criminal problems

Advanced parole gives you permission to re-enter the US multiple times, even before you leave. You just need to renew your advanced parole. There is no extra filing fee because it is included in your green card application. As such, it is better to file for advanced parole with your green card application just in case you need to travel outside of the US for whatever reason. If you leave the United States without an advance parole document, your application may be considered abandoned. 

Take note that it is advisable that you stay in the US until you are done with the nitty-gritty of your green card application such as biometrics or fingerprinting, the interview, as well as any appointments set to address Request for Evidence. Failure to personally appear in these appointments could jeopardize your application entirely. It is also not recommended to stay out of the US for more than 90 days.  If you are out of the country longer than that, the USCIS may think you are no longer residing in the US and may negatively impact y our application.


Get to work on your work permit.

You might be wondering if you can work while waiting for your green card. It does not hurt to earn some money to help with daily living expenses.

However, being eligible to work depends on the immigration application you filed for.  If you currently live in the United States and want to work for a U.S. employer while your family-based green card application (Form I-485) is pending, you will need a work permit first,  (officially called an “Employment Authorization Document,” or EAD or I-765). You are not qualified for a work permit if you live abroad. The option to apply for a work permit is available for green card applicants that are applying while they are in the U.S.

If you already have a valid work visa, such as an H-1B or L-1 visa, you can continue working in the United States even while your green card application is being processed. 

Keep in mind that you cannot submit a work permit application until you’ve filed the green card application. As such, it is better to file for your I-765 with your I-485. Otherwise, you will have to pay a separate fee and you will also deal with further delays. 


A competent immigration attorney can help you.

So how far along are you in your green card application?  If you have not started on it yet because you have some questions about the process, do not hesitate to talk to our immigration attorneys at Andres Mejer Law.

Remember, every case is different and we won’t take your money if we can’t help you. You can call us today if you want to discuss your case or need help on your green card or immigration journey, and we will let you know if and how we can help. 

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