Although there are many ways to become a permanent resident of the United States, the two most common ways are to have a relative who is a U.S. citizen (including a spouse) petition on your behalf or to secure employment in a position for which U.S. workers are in short supply. No matter on what basis you are immigrating, you will need a number of documents. Failure to manage this process correctly can lead to delays in the approval of your application.
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Things You'll Need
Proof of family or employment relationship
USCIS Form I-130 or I-140
USCIS Form I-693
USCIS Form I-864
USCIS Form I-485
Determine your basis for filing a permanent residency application. If you have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen, you will need to have them complete Form I-130. If you wish to immigrate through employment, your employer will have to file Form I-140 on your behalf. Both of these forms are available on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
Assemble proof of your family or employment relationship to be filed along with Form I-130 or I-140. This could include a marriage certificate, a birth certificate or an offer of employment. Any documents issued in a foreign language should be accompanied by a notarized English translation. After your application is approved, you will have to wait until the USCIS notifies you that your application is "current" to proceed with the process.
Download USCIS Form I-485 from the USCIS website. You will have to submit this form in your own name. This form necessitates that you produce documentary evidence of the grounds upon which your immigration application is based, along with two passport-sized photographs
Obtain police records form every place you have lived since you turned 16. If you have no criminal report, the police report should state this. These reports should also be translated into English.
Download USCIS Form I-693 from the USCIS website. Take it to a USCIS-approved medical clinic and give it to the doctor. The doctor will perform a medical examination and return the form to you in a sealed envelope. Do not open the envelope or break the seal.
Download USCIS Form I-864 from the USCIS website. Find a sponsor willing to guarantee your financial support for 10 years after your permanent residence application is approved. If you are immigrating on the grounds of employment or you can demonstrate sufficient financial resources (125 percent of the federal povery line), you will not need this form. You may demonstrate financial resources with bank account statements, share certificates and other documentary evidence.
Send the documentation described in steps 2 through 6 above to the USCIS office nearest your residence (at least one office exists in every state). The USCIS will set a time to interview you.
Bring your passport to the interview. After the interview, you will be issued a permanent residence card ("green card").
Tips & Warnings
If you marry a U.S. citizen, your application for permanent residency can be approved even if you are here illegally.
If you have been unlawfully present in the United States for at least 180 days, do not leave the country while your application for permanent residency is pending because you will not be able to reenter the United States for three years, even if your application is approved. A 10-year bar will apply if you have been unlawfully present in the United States for a year or more.Tags: USCIS Form, your application, United States, USCIS website, application approved