Immigrating to the USA | Green Card Application

Green Card Application

Applying for a Green Card actually means filling out Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. In other words, you are already in the United States of America and you want to change your official status here in the country to that of a permanent resident. The permanent resident card you will receive has green writing, and that is where the name Green Card comes from. Here is what you will need to know about the application.

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status form I-485 (instructions), fee $985 + $85 for biometrics

Include the following forms and documents with your I-485 application:

  • A copy of the approved petition on your behalf filed by your family member or employer (I-140 or I-130)
  • Biographic Information form G-325A, no cost
  • Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record form I-693 (instructions), fees charged by civil surgeons (not required if you had a physical for an I-129F petition or have lived in the US since at least 1971)
  • Two recent color photographs
  • If you are applying based on your relationship to a family member you will need to include an Affidavit of Support form I-864 (instructions), at no cost (you do not need to include this if you are applying based on an Alient Worker Petition, form I-140)
  • Additionally, if you are applying based on an Alien Worker Petition (form I-140) filed on your behalf, provide the following:
    • Letter from your employer stating your job offer
    • Arrival / Departure Record form I-94

Remember that all forms and accompanying documents must be in English. Translations must be certified by the translator as being complete and correct, and the translator must also certify that he or she is competent to translate from the original language into English

Explanation of Included Forms

I-693 Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record

As part of your I-485 application you will need to have a medical exam and prove that you have certain required vaccinations. Your I-693 form must be completed by a civil surgeon approved by USCIS. As long as you get the proper vaccinations and have a record of this, you can receive these anywhere – not necessarily from the civil surgeon. Your civil surgeon will also have to confirm that you do not have tuberculosis and syphilis, and you can bring recent test results for these as proof to the civil surgeon (who can also arrange for these tests to be performed). The main immunizations you will need to have are:

  • Diphtheria
  • Polio
  • Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
  • Tetanus
  • Hepatitis B (only the first shot in the series is required)
  • Pertussis

The civil surgeon will complete his or her portion of the I-693 and give it back to you in a sealed envelope marked, “Do not open, for USCIS use only.” Turn this in with the rest of your I-485 application. You will also be asked about mental disorders and any drug or alcohol abuse.

I-864 Affidavit of Support

This form cannot be filled out by you, the Green Card applicant. To be sponsored by your family member (or anyone who will agree to be your sponsor), his or her income needs to be above the federal poverty guideline for his or her household size. For example if your spouse wants to sponsor you, he or she needs to earn more than $15,510- the federal poverty level for a household size of two (you and your spouse, with no children) at the time of this writing. Your sponsor will need to have his or her income figures as reported on federal taxes for the preceding three years, along with a copy of the most recent year’s federal tax return. Note that the value of the sponsor’s total assets (house, etc) can be taken into consideration.

The sponsor is responsible for ensuring you have enough money for housing, medicine, and food. The sponsor can be held legally responsible for providing these necessities if you cannot do this for yourself.

I-94 Arrival/Departure Information

Your I-94 shows when you arrived in the USA. You can also check this online.

Important Information for those Applying Based on a Family Relationship

You can apply for permission to work at the same time you submit your I-485 application for no additional cost. Use the form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (instructions, worksheet). If you decide to file form I-765 later you will have to pay a fee of $380. If you file it with your I-485 it is free.

Some General Information about Green Cards in the U.S.A.

  • There are 226,000 visas available for allotment each year based on family relation to a US citizen or permanent resident
  • There are 140,000 employment-based visas allotted each year
  • 85% of the employment-based visas are given to people residing in the United States

Back to Immigrating to the USA through Employment

Back to Immigrating to the USA through Family

Back to Immigrating to the USA

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4 thoughts on “Immigrating to the USA | Green Card Application

  1. Denson Wol Deng

    How can i apply for a green card to colorado USA as am a student who is staying Africa,country Uganda.Nationalit:south sudanese.

    1. Administrator Post author

      Hello Denson Wol Deng,

      You can apply for a green card based on any of the statuses detailed here (marriage, employment, or family).

      If you are not married to a US citizen or permanent resident, and have no immediate family members who are US citizens or permanent residents, then your best chance would be to find a US employer who would sponsor you for a work permit, which could eventually lead to a green card.

      Good luck

  2. abdulwali

    Hallo sir im abdul wali from Afghanistan living in Germany sir how can i apply for US gren card to live in alaska thanks

  3. Anonymous

    What happens if you are here because you married a US citizen in your country, then moved to the USA and got a green card(with the help of your spouse) and are working but not living with your spouse? Spouse is very sick but you never visit her in the hospital and now she has passed. Should you go back to your country since you have no sponsor and your spouse had no money? How does someone get deported?


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