Answers to Your Green Card Questions
Green cards are some of the most common resources utilized by immigrants to live and work in the United States. Due to their popularity, they are also difficult to obtain. That’s why our Houston immigration team has put together answers to some of the most common questions concerning green cards.
What Status is Given to Green Card Holders?
Green card holders are also referred to as lawful permanent residents. These are non-citizens that are lawfully authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. Lawful permanent residents are also able to sponsor foreign relatives to gain their own green cards and eventually apply for citizenship.
Are Green Cards Limited?
There is a limited number of green cards that can be issued each year. The cap for distribution is currently set at 140,000 green cards per year. With a waitlist of over 1,000,000 immigrants and a backlog due to the COVID-19 pandemic, obtaining a green card has the ability to be extremely difficult.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Green Card?
The process of obtaining a green card can take anywhere from as little as ten months all the way up to three years depending on the situation of each individual.
How Much Do They Cost?
The total application cost for each type of green card can vary. For marriage-based green cards, the total is $1,760 if the spouse pursuing the green card lives within the U.S., while the total is $1,200 for a spouse living abroad. There are additional costs when going through the application process that cover expenses for services such as medical examinations and biometric screening.
Can My Application be Denied?
Green card applications do have the ability to be declined. This can be a result of mistakes made within the application itself, if there are any missing documents, insufficient financial resources, or a failure to demonstrate eligibility.
Can I Work In The U.S. While I Wait For A Green Card?
If a green card applicant is already the holder of a valid worker’s visa, such as an H-1B or L visa, they are typically allowed to continue to work in the United States when applying for a green card.
Can I Get a Marriage Green Card?
Most U.S. citizens and green card holders are able to sponsor their spouse for a green card and permanent residency status. The process of applying and documentation for a marriage green card is different from a regular green card. The primary difference involves establishing a marriage relationship before paying the proper fees and filling out the documents.
The time frame for gaining a marriage green card can range anywhere from 10-38 months, depending on where you and your spouse are living at the time you submit your application.
Is There an Income Requirement?
An applicant must have a U.S. financial sponsor who certifies in an Affidavit of Support that their annual income is at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (100% for military sponsors). The exact minimum income required, most commonly $21,137 for a couple without children, depends on a variety of factors.
Contact Our Houston Immigration Team Today
The experienced immigration team at Baker Donelson is no stranger to the complex green card application process. We are able to help you come up with creative strategies to maximize your and your loved one’s chances of success.
To find out more about how we can assist you, contact us today through our website, or give us a call at (713) 286-7182 to schedule a consultation.