Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Green card’ Category

Having a green card means getting legal residence status in the US. With a green card, you are allowed to enter, work and live permanently in the US. There are different classifications through which you can get a green card.

The Green Card Lottery Program

The green card lottery, also called the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery program is a very good opportunity for foreign nationals to get permanent legal resident status. Through this program 50,000 foreign nationals get a green card. This DV lottery program is conducted every year. Applicants will be selected randomly by a computer and all entrants are required to fulfill certain simple eligibility requirements. It is important to note that not all countries qualify for this program. So the first eligibility criteria you have to meet is that you have to be a native of a qualifying country. Qualifying country generally is your country of birth and is not where you live. The second requirement is that the entrant should have at least a high school education or its equivalent.

If more than 50,000 persons in the family and employment based visa classification came to the US in the last five years from a particular country, this country will not be eligible for the current year’s DV program. Also remember, if you qualify, you have to submit only one entry. If you happen to submit more than one entry, you will be disqualified. But if a husband and wife each meet the eligibility requirements, they are permitted to submit one entry each.

If you do not belong to a qualifying country, you can apply if your spouse is from a qualifying country. In such instances, both the entrant and the spouse have to come to the US together if selected. The applicant’s children (below 21 years) who were entered in the entrant’s application can come along with their parents during the US visit. Qualifying through the country of birth of either of your parents as long as neither of your parents was a resident of an ineligible country at the time of your birth is also another option to qualify.

The Process

The Kentucky Consular Center takes care of the process. Here all the entries received will be separately numbered and a computer will randomly select from those for each geographic region. Since it is done this way, all the entries have the same chance of getting selected. Since the entries are submitted online, all applicants will receive an unique confirmation number. They can check the results online using this number. Remember, winners will not be notified by post or through email.

The Kentucky Consular Center will send appointment letters to the selected individuals four to six weeks before the interview with the US consular officers abroad. Though the lottery program is free, those selected are required to pay diversity and immigrant visa fees in person and they have to pay at the US embassy or Consulate at the time of applying for a visa. All applicants can check the status of their application online to know if they are selected or not. If selected, and if they are in the US, they can apply for adjustment of status for permanent residence.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

  1. What is the diversity visa lottery ?

The annual diversity visa lottery program gives permanent residence visas to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer will randomly select from the available applications for each geographic region. Since it is done this way, all applications have an equal chance of getting selected in this DV lottery program. No country eligible for the program will receive more than seven percent of the available visas for the particular year.

2. Who is eligible for the DV lottery ?

One eligibility criteria is that the applicant should have at least a high school education or its equivalent. Countries from which large number of immigrants move to the US are not eligible. If more than 50,000 persons in the family and employment based visa categories immigrated to the US in the last five years from a single country, this country will not qualify for the current year’s DV lottery.

3. Can persons not born in a qualifying country apply ?

If you are not from a qualifying country, you can apply if your spouse if from an eligible country. But here both the applicant and the spouse have to enter the US together if selected. All the children under 21 listed in the entrant’s application can accompany their parents during the US visit. You can also qualify through the country of birth of either of your parents as long as neither of your parents was a resident of an ineligible country at the time of your birth.

4. Is every applicant limited to only entry for the DV lottery program?

Ensure that you submit only one application. Individuals will be disqualified if they submit more than one application. Whereas, a husband and wife can each submit one application if each meet the eligibility requirements for the DV lottery program.

5. Should i submit my own entry or can someone act on my behalf?

You may prepare and submit yourself or have someone submit the entry for you.

6. What about the signature on the application and photographs?

Signatures are not required on the DV lottery Form. However, recent and individual photographs of you, your spouse and all children under 21 years of age are required. Here note that you should not submit family or group photographs. If photographs do not meet the specifications, it will be automatically rejected.

7.How will the winners be selected?

All the applications received will be given separate numbers at the Kentucky Consular Center. Then a computer will randomly select from the available applications for each geographic region. Since it is done this way, all applications have an equal chance of getting selected in this DV lottery program. Selected applicants will be notified by post. This letter will have instructions for the visa application process. The Kentucky Consular Center will send appointment letters to the winners four to six weeks before the interview with the US consular officers overseas.

8. Can winners adjust their status ?

Selected individuals of the diversity visa lottery who are physically present in the United States may apply for adjustment of status to permanent resident and it has to be filed with the USCIS.

Read Full Post »

The LPR population includes persons granted lawful permanent residence (green card) holders, but not those who had become US citizens. Data for the estimates were obtained primarily from administrative records of USCIS. The methodology used to figure out the 2010 estimates is the same as that was used in previous DHS estimates. An estimated 12.6 million green card holders lived in the US on January 1, 2010 and out of these 8.1 million were eligible for American citizenship.

Green card holders (LPRs) are eligible to file the citizenship form, N-400 after meeting certain requirements. Most LPRs have to fulfill a five-year residency requirement for naturalization. Spouses of US citizens can apply in three years. It was assumed that all LPRs have to satisfy a five-year residency requirement except for those whose status was as a spouse of a US citizen. Certain categories of immigrants receive credit for the period prior to the actual grant of LPR status. The credited time or earlier dates are not included in the residency records used for this analysis and must be estimated. Asylees are credited one year in asylum status toward their LPR status. So Asylees qualify for naturalization four years after approval of their adjustment of status application.

It is estimated that 12.6 million legal permanent residents were living in the US on January 1, 2010. Out of this 12.6 million, an estimated 8.1 million qualify for naturalization. Between January 2008 and 2010, the total LPR population and LPR population eligible for naturalization more or less remained the same. In general, the size of the LPR population changes less rapidly than the total legally resident population because increases in the number of persons becoming LPRs each year are offset by persons who opt for naturalization.

Per USCIS administrative records, 25.2 million foreign nationals obtained LPR status between 1980 and 2009. At the end of 2009, an estimated 9.7 million (38 percent) had naturalized, 1.3 million (5 percent) had derived citizenship before becoming 18 years old and 3.2 million (13 percent) died or emigrated. An estimated 4.6 million LPRs do not qualify for naturalization, leaving 8.1 million LPRs eligible to apply to naturalize in 2010.

Read Full Post »

It is a dream for many to come to the US, either for a visit or to work and live in the US. Depending on the intention of your visit, there are different ways and means through which you can come to the US. Visas and green cards are tools that facilitate your move to the US temporarily or permanently. A non immigrant visa is for a temporary stay whereas through a green card, you can legally live and work in the US permanently.

There are different paths that will lead you to a green card. A common and easy way is through the annually conducted Diversity Visa (DV) lottery program. One has to remember the many privileges that green card holders can enjoy and one can legally enter, work and live permanently in the US. Considering these, it is really worth having a go through the DV lottery program. As mentioned above, in addition to the green card lottery program, there are other ways through which you can get a green card.

Diversity lottery :

A substantial number (50,000) green cards are made available every year through the DV lottery program. What needs mention here is that there are a few simple, but strict eligibility requirements that you have to fulfill to qualify for the program. The list of qualifying countries is indeed limited and not all countries qualify. When more than 50,000 persons from your country immigrated to the US under the family and employment based visa categories during the past five years, your country will not fall in the “qualifying” list for this year’s DV lottery program.

So, to qualify for this program, you should be from a ‘qualifying’ country. “Qualifying” country is where you were born and NOT where you currently live. The second eligibility criteria is that you should have at least a high school education or its equivalent.

The Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) is the authority that takes care of the DV processing. The winners will be selected randomly by a computer. The results are announced only by the by the KCC only and ignore any notifications from other fake organizations. From 2010, applicants are to check the results online in the official website.

The DV lottery Process :

You can submit your application only during the registration period that will be notified well in advance by the official department. Once the entry submission is over, the website will stop accepting further entries for the fiscal year. A computer will select randomly from the valid entries region wise.

Every valid entry will receive a case number. If you are selected, you will be notified in detail on how to proceed further. Also note that you will be informed not to proceed further if you do not satisfy the eligibility requirements required to participate in the program. The case number is the only way to check if you are selected or not. So make sure you keep the confirmation number safe.

If you are selected, it does not imply that you will get the immigrant visa immediately. It only qualifies you to apply for an immigration visa. You are required to pay the appropriate immigrant visa fees and the diversity visa processing fees.

Read Full Post »

As a Lawful Permanent Resident, if you have to travel abroad for a considerable length of time, make sure you take certain steps to assure that your permanent resident status is not lost.

As a LPR, you have to file tax returns under all circumstances with the IRS annually. Filing a tax return as a LPR does not necessarily mean that you should actually pay income tax if you are employed overseas, because treaties and foreign tax credits may minimize the tax amount actually paid to the IRS.

If you are employed abroad or have to travel overseas for a considerable length of time, it can prove handy if your immediate family members, including any spouse, children, and parents remain in the US. Having strong family ties to the US shows your intention to keep your permanent resident status.

Employment abroad is one of the most commonly used reason why LPRs are absent from the US for a long period. A written statement from the employer, or an employment contract identifying the length of the overseas job, will be of much help with regard to the LPR’s intention to maintain his/her permanent resident status.

If you are not engaged in overseas employment and have no family members in the US, find ways to establish other strong ties.Before leaving the US, open a bank account with a US bank, and leave it open and use it during your stay abroad.

If you wish to remain outside the US for more than one year, but less than two years, you can apply for a re-entry permit. As mentioned earlier, if you travel abroad for a period longer than one year, you face a risk of denial of admission into the US on the ground that you have abandoned your permanent resident status. A Re-entry Permit solves this problem.

A prolonged absence from the US will break the continuity of your residence in the US for naturalization purposes. However, it will not affect your ability to return to the US as a permanent resident.

In order to qualify for American Citizenship, you must reside in the US for a continuous period of five years after lawful admission to the US as a permanent resident and prior to filing the citizenship form. If you are married to a US citizen, you must reside in the US for a continuous period of three years after being admitted to the US as a permanent resident and prior to application for naturalization. Apart form this , you must physically reside in the US for at least half of the period required for continuous residence. However, spouses of US citizens who are US military personnel or who have overseas employment with US employers are exempted from these requirements.

Read Full Post »

One of the main benefits of being a US citizen is that you can petition your loved ones for a green card which will help them come and live with you in the US. As a US citizen, you are eligible to to petition your spouse, parent and children for a legal permanent resident (green card) status. But if you a Legal Permanent Resident, you can sponsor only your spouse and unmarried children.

Green Card For Child Application Process :

The first step is the filing the “Immigrant Petition” that will establish a qualifying relationship between you, the sponsor and your child abroad. It is then followed by the green card application. If your child is in the US, you are allowed to file the immigrant petition and green card for child application at the same time. But, in cases of lawful permanent residents, your child must wait for the immigrant petition to be approved before you can file the the green card application.

The green card for child process starts by submitting Form I-130, the immigrant petition. If your child lives outside the US, the application for an immigrant visa has to be filed at a US consulate at your child’s place of residence.

If your child/children live in the US, you have to file Form I-485 to adjust status. If your child lives in the US and is both unmarried and under the age of 21, then you can submit Form I-130 and Form I-485 together. This is considered the fastest way to apply for a green card. If you are a Legal Permanent Resident and your child is married or over 21 or lives outside the US, then you will have to wait for the Form I-130 to be approved before going to the next step in the process.

As a US citizen, you are eligible to sponsor your married child for a green card. Married sons and daughters of US citizens come under the third-preference category. So they should wait for a priority date to become available before they can apply for a visa. Plainly, married sons and daughters have to wait longer than unmarried sons and daughters to apply for a green card. However, Legal Permanent Residents are not eligible to sponsor their married sons and daughters for a green card.

Unmarried children of US citizen parents, below the age of 21 are considered as “Immediate relatives”. It means they can directly apply for a green card without having to wait for a priority date to become current. Though as a US citizen, you are eligible to sponsor your children who are married or over the age of 21, such children will not qualify as immediate relatives. So these applicants should wait for their priority date to be current before they become eligible to apply for a green card.

The visa bulletin published monthly by the Department of State has details regarding when applicants Priority Date becomes current.

Another point to remember is that if you are bringing a relative to live permanently in the US, you have to accept legal responsibility for supporting your family member financially. You have to take this responsibility and you become your relative’s sponsor. For this you have to complete and sign a document called an affidavit of support. You have this responsibility until your relative gets American Citizenship or is credited with 40 quarters of work (normally 10 years.)

Read Full Post »

Having a green card is the proof of being officially granted immigration benefits to live and work in the United States legally and permanently.

A US permanent resident card (green card) is generally valid for ten years. You should file Form I-90, Application for green card replacement with the USCIS to renew/replace the card on its expiry.. If you want to change any biographic information on your green card i.e if your name has changed because of marriage and also if you lose your card ,the same form (I-90) should be filed .

Per US immigration laws, you have to carry evidence of your status in the country (a valid, unexpired green card or temporary passport stamp). If you do not renew your green card, you might experience difficulties in getting employed, cannot be eligible for other benefits and also have trouble re-entering the US from abroad. Ensure that you apply for your new green card well before you travel and have with you on any trip, the temporary documentation you received. If you try to re-enter the US with an expired green card, you will experience a delay during the inspection process at the port of entry,

A US conditional permanent resident is different from a US permanent resident. A conditional resident card is valid only for two years. He/she has to remove the conditions during the 90 day period before the card expires. A conditional resident card cannot be renewed. The conditions must be removed else he/she will lose his/her status. Form I-751 should be filed to remove the conditions. Once the application is approved and the conditions are removed, a permanent resident card that will be valid for the next ten years will be issued.

After you send the completed I-90 application along with the appropriate fee to the USCIS, you will receive an Application Receipt Notice that will have a 13-character Application Receipt number within 30 days of having filed your I-90 application. This notice serves as a proof that the USCIS has received your application and that it is being processed. You can also monitor the status of your application with this receipt number. You also will be notified about the dates for fingerprinting and subsequently, your interview date with instructions related to the supporting documents you need to bring. The entire process approximately takes three months.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »