Obtaining a green card is an important step towards becoming a U.S. citizen. A green card indicates that an individual is a Lawful Permanent Resident, and can live and work in the U.S.
Instructions for submitting a green card application are provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, the process can sometimes be complicated. Below is a handful of things to keep in mind when going through the process.
What to Do When Applying for a Green Card:
- Follow instructions on the USCIS forms completely and exactly. Failure to fill out all the information requested on the forms could result in a denied application or costly delays in processing.
- Submit any and all additional documents that are required along with the forms. USCIS will generally not process applications if documents are missing.
- Ask for an interpreter if one is needed. Many immigration offices provide interpreters, but, just to be safe, bring one if one will be needed.
- Follow instructions regarding photograph requirements. Applications could be delayed they do not meet these specifications.
- Ask questions.
- Hire an attorney. This is essential to do if an applicant:
- Disclose to the attorney any information about:
What Not to Do When Applying for a Green Card:
- Break the law. This is the surest way to have an application denied. Moreover, some crimes are grounds for deportation.
- Leave the U.S. Limiting travel outside the U.S. to periods of less than one year.
- Falsify information on forms or during communications to immigration officers
- Leave forms blank. Best practice is to state “N/A” or not applicable when necessary, and supply all information as completely as possible
- Charge people for legal advice or engage in any other activities that require a license. It is illegal to practice certain professions without a valid license.
Most Importantly: Hire a Lawyer
To reiterate, the most important thing to consider is hiring an immigration lawyer. Your attorney can help you prepare the necessary documents and review them before they are filed.