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US Green Card Application Process

21st December 2011
By Nancy in Immigration Law
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A person is allowed to live and work in the US without any time restrictions once he gets the Green card. Through employment or family sponsorship are the two common ways to get green card. Based on the close family ties between an applicant and a permanent resident sponsor or U.S. citizen a family based green card application can be filed. Parent, spouse, child or sibling comes under the close family ties. Eligible applicants are based on type of relationship or type of sponsor.

Basically the sponsor needs to submit the Form i-130 for Immigrant Visa Petition and applicant need to complete the Form I-485 for green card application process. Affidavit of Support is important while filing petition for green card for family member.

On behalf of the sponsor the steps involved are:

Step1: Immigrant Visa Petition immigration form I-130 completion. Once this form is submitted at USCIS office they will be aware that a qualifying member is being sponsored for permanent residency.
In case if applicant is the spouse both need to submit the Form G-325A requesting biographical information for the two.

Form G-1145 is an optional form which needs to be filled in order to opt for email or cellular text message about the petition receipt from USCIS.

Step 2: Supporting documents need to be gathered next.
Main document is the proof for the U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status. Also documents to prove relation with applicant needs to be submitted. For example in case the family member being sponsored is the spouse marriage certificate copy should be submitted. In case for a child birth certificate can be used to prove relationship.

Step 3: Petition filing
At one of two designated Chicago lock-box addresses along with a check or money order of the current fee of $355 the petition needs to be filed. For the correct current filing fee and location you need to check online on website under the forms option. At the closest U.S. consulate you can file in case sponsor is filing from outside U.S. In case the applicant and sponsor are in U.S. the Immigrant Visa petition and the green card processing can be done simultaneously at the appropriate Chicago lock box address with the National Benefits Center.

Step 4: Pay Fee for Affidavit of Support.
The National visa center will receive notification from USCIS about the I-130 approval. Further processing will happen once the priority date becomes current. In case the visa is available but the applicant is outside U.S. affidavit of support processing bill will be sent to the sponsor. Once the fee currently $70 is paid the sponsor will receive the Form I-864 and instructions for form filling from the National Visa Center.

Step 5: Complete Form I-864, Affidavit for Support.
Form I-864 must be completed and submitted along with support documents at the National Visa Center by the U.S. sponsor. The US sponsorís financial ability at 25% more than poverty guideline and ability to support applicant and his/her family will be thus established. The photocopy of U.S. sponsorís Federal Tax return is the primary support document to be submitted along Form I-864. Once the affidavit of support is submitted the sponsor is contractually obliged to support the immigrating family member financially.

When that applicant becomes a U.S. citizen and has been credited 40quarters of work for social security or in case applicant loses permanent resident status and leaves U.S. or new sponsor takes charge the obligation goes or either the applicant or sponsor expires. The US sponsorís income and assets are available for the family member immigrating until the affidavit of support obligation ends. So this family member will not be eligible for certain public benefits. In case the applicant receives public benefits the U.S. sponsor needs to repay the same to the U.S. agency. Affidavit of support cannot be forcibly signed by the sponsor but if Form I-864 is not signed by the sponsor the green card will not be given to the family member.

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