How to Apply for a Green Card

There are many steps and filings involved when you apply for a green card. The process starts with the filing of Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative, but does not end there. To complete the process, your relative him or herself must also file an application for a green card, and see the process through.

When to Apply

Form I-130 results in you or your relative being assigned a visa number. In the case of obtaining a green card by marriage, the number is assigned as soon as the form is received by the USCIS — there is no waiting because there is no limit to the number of visas for immediate relatives and spouses. Still, being assigned a visa number does not mean you are ready to enter the country legally. It simply means you are ready to apply to come into the US on a green card visa.

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After Form I-130 is received, you will be notified by the NVC and invited to apply to get your green card. To do this, you must complete the application packet you are provided, remit all fees and supporting documents, as well as the completed form DS-230, which is the application for an Immigrant Visa.

Required Information for Form DS-230

The green card application asks for a variety of information. The application packet contents will vary depending on your country of origin and where you will have your green card interview.

The information required when you apply for a green card is basically:

    • Part I, "Biographic Data" — this is information about you, your family, your background, children, nationality, residence, employment, military service, and education.

    • Part II, "Sworn Statement" — this is a statement that you sign to confirm that you are not disqualified as per USCIS law, and that the information you have provided is true and accurate. Part II is only required to be filed with the application for certain locations (for Appointment Review Consulates only — Canada, Turkey, Albania, US Arab Emirates, Africa).

After you apply for a green card and it is received, you will be scheduled for a green card interview, and also given further instructions (complete physical exam, etc.). The final decision and granting of the green card will occur following your interview, at which time you will be given further instructions.

Rest assured that you are not alone if you are feeling overwhelmed at this point. However, there are many resources and professionals who can assist you at every step. Plus, you can learn more about the process and about available resources right here on our website.

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