The process of applying for a green card may differ depending on what category you fall into. A green card application will be processed within a specific timeframe based on the USCIS processing center or agency handling the application and the specific green card type you applied for. Green Cards can be applied in various ways under U.S. immigration laws. Depending on the immigration category you apply for, eligibility requirements might differ.  Coronavirus (covid) pandemics could prolong this period. Green cards are typically granted based on the following general process; 

  • Step 1: Sponsor submits petition: The sponsor typically applies for a green card on behalf of the beneficiary (green card applicant). Family-based and employment-based green cards generally require longer processing times. It is important to prove that they qualify for a green card due to their familial relationship or occupation with a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or employer. A green card applicant must have maintained their status in the United States for at least five years to qualify for a green card based on a family relationship or career with a U.S. citizen. The applicants must ensure that they meet the requirements for receiving a green card in the United States by considering the qualifying factors. Resources for doing so are abundant, though it is not always easy. Suppose your ineligibility is based on family relationships or employment. In that case, the USCIS also has other options to establish that you have maintained your status in the United States over those five years and should be considered eligible for a green card. 
  • Step 2: Beneficiary submits the application: Green card applicants can now submit their green card applications after USCIS receives and approves the green card sponsor’s petition. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that some applicants will now be able to submit their green card applications after being approved by the sponsor for a green card.

Now, the employer or consular officer will no longer need to approve the application before submitting a green card application. The change will facilitate the process of getting a green card for immigrants already in the United States with a work or family-based petition that has been approved.  If you are applying from within the United States, you will submit an adjustment of status application, and if you are applying outside, you will submit a consular application.  U.S. laws and procedures make applying for adjustment of status complicated. With this guide, the process can be simplified.

You must submit an adjustment of status application to USCIS if you apply from within the United States. In addition to identifying your current immigration status, you must specify your desired immigration status on the application for adjustment of status. After submitting the application and paying the appropriate fees, USCIS will review the request. You will get notice I-797 with your approval number and other important details about your case if your adjustment of status application has been approved. Asylum applicants motivated by religious or political beliefs are automatically eligible for asylum, even if they have never entered the U.S. However, they must still be granted parole before applying for asylum. 

You may need to wait for a visa number before applying for a green card if the United States government has a quota for the green card type you’re applying for. The State Department’s website currently publishes a visa bulletin that includes the available visas.  In addition to your green card application forms, you will need to submit supporting documents like your tax returns and birth certificates, etc., to apply for a green card. 

  • Step 3: Biometrics appointment: After successfully submitting the green card application, you’ll be scheduled for a biometrics appointment, where your fingerprints, photographs, and a signature will be collected. As part of the U.S. government’s record checking process, the FBI runs your biometric information through their database before entering into the government’s record checking system to ensure that you don’t have any criminal history.  They also scan your fingerprints, facial images, and iris scans with their system to secure your identity. They will inform you via email and letter if they find anything wrong with the current version of your biometric data. Moreover, after successfully processing biometric information, the FBI will send the confirmation letter.  Eight years ago, the U.S. government launched and operated a program called “Rap Back” to protect its citizens from those who might be using other people’s identities to make money or commit other illegal acts. You may be disqualified from receiving a green card if you have committed a crime.
  • Step 4: Green card interview: Green card interview is one of the most important steps in the complete application process in which USCIS will conduct the green card interview either in person or by telephone. If the applicant resides outside the United States, you need to contact the nearest American embassy or consulate for a green card interview. While, if you live within the United States, you can arrange an interview with your local USCIS office to get a green card, or you can schedule it on the phone if the USCIS office is not available.

For green card interview, the following procedure will be followed;

  • USCIS is notified that the application has been submitted successfully.
  • An interview appointment scheduler is provided to the applicant.
  • The candidate must reach the interview location well before the time.
  • Interviews are conducted as per schedule. 
  • Step 5: Receive decision regarding green card application: The U.S. government will either approve or deny your application for a green card. The decision is usually communicated during or shortly after your green card interview. A summary of your case status can also be found on USCIS’ website.


Working with an immigration attorney can help you navigate the complicated green card application process. You can use our free web app to prepare and file your application with the government of the United States if you are eligible. 


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