How Long Can It Take To Get The Green Card?

The Green Card holders are permanent residents of the United States but they are not citizens. The Green Card is actually a card that tells the officials that an individual can live as well as work in the United States officially on a permanent basis.

How Much Time Can it Take to Get the Green Card?

The time required for Green Card processing varies greatly.  In the United States there are 5 different categories of employment-based residency and each has its own requirements.  Some categories lead to residency within 1-2 years. Others may take much longer to qualify.  It also depends on which country the applicant is from and some countries have a quota backlog in certain heavily used categories.

In addition there are issues that could delay issuance of the Green such as medical, criminal or previous unlawful presence.  The time needed for the process chiefly depends upon the evidence and information provided while applying for it as well as the method opted for.

Green Card

Employment Based Green Card

In case of the employment based Green Card, both the applicant and the employer must gather and present documentation.  In certain categories, the bulk of the work is the responsibility of the applicant.

Employment-based Green Card Categories

Every year, thousands of applicants are given the Green Card in the employment-based categories.

Green Card is divided into several categories.

  • EB1 – Priority workers
  • EB2 – Individuals with exceptional ability or advanced degrees
  • EB3 – Professional or skilled individuals
  • EB4 – Special immigrants
  • EB5 – Individuals who create employment that is investors.

Process of Getting Green Card

Getting the employment based Green Card is a multiple step process.  With certain exceptions, its takes several years to be completed.  It is quite frustrating to wait this long to get the Green Card; however, this is the reality.

  • Foreign nationals and their employers must consult with U.S. immigration counsel to determine the appropriate category in which to apply.

  • For many of the categories, the employer must apply for alien labor certification; this application gets filed with the Department of Labor, after the employer has tried to recruit U.S. workers for the position. The applications seeks Department of Labor certification that there aren’t any qualified U.S. workers available or willing to do the job.

  • To prove the case, the employer must submit proof of recruitment, and report on the skills necessary to handle the job, verification of the wage for a given position and the ability of the employer to pay the wage.

  • There are a few employment categories that do not require a labor certification.

  • As soon as the labor certification is approved, the employer is required to file Form I-140.

  • Once the I-140 is approved, and a visa becomes available – i.e. the priority date becomes current, the applicant may file application for residency.

  • As soon as the priority date is current, the applicant is offered two options. The adjustment of status can be applied for in case the applicant is in the U.S. If the applicant is outside the U.S., he or she can go through the consular processing.

Green Card for NSA Alien

The process of acquiring Green card for ‘Non-Schedule A’ (NSA) Alien is longer. This process may take up somewhere between 15 and 24 months or longer.

The duration necessary for the completion of the process chiefly depends upon priority date of the primary applicant.

Family Sponsored Green Card

The family sponsored Green Card is available for relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

The time necessary varies on the basis of the relationship of the applicant with the individual sponsoring the Green Card.   The process for immediate relatives – spouses, unmarried children and parents of U.S. citizens — in relatively quick.  The process for spouses and children of U.S. residents and siblings of U.S. citizens takes much longer.

Investment Based Green Card

You will be eligible for this Green Card if you are willing to invest in the U.S. and create ten permanent jobs for qualifying U.S. workers.  This category is known as the EB-5 category.  It is designed to attract individuals from other countries who are willing to put their capital at risk in the United States to help create U.S. jobs.   Currently, immigrant investors must invest $1,000,000 (or $500,000 if the project is located in a rural or high unemployment area) in a job-creating project that is estimated to create at least 10 per EB-5 investor.  In exchange, the immigrant investor and all immediate family members receive conditional permanent resident status in the United States for a two-year period.   If after two years, the immigrant investor has satisfied the conditions of the EB-5 Program, the conditions are removed and the immigrant and all his/her immediate family members become unconditional lawful permanent residents of the United States.  The investors’ funds must remain committed for the full-period of conditional residency (approximately 4-5 years).

Contributed By: JCF Immigration

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