A Green Card is officially known as a permanent resident card and is issued to foreign nationals by the Citizenship and Immigration Service. A Green Card authorizes recipients to live and work in the United States indefinitely. The card has holographic images and laser-engraved fingerprints to prevent counterfeiting, and typically must be renewed every 10 years. A Green Card is required if a person wants to “naturalize” and become a U.S. citizen. There are many Green Card myths that can confuse or derail your immigration application.
3 Myths and Facts About Green Cards
1. Green Cards are Free
A Green Card application is free, but there are immigration filing fees. Your immigration application is not reviewed until you have paid the filing fees. If you are immigrating to the United States as a lawful permanent resident, you must pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee online unless you meet one of the immigration application fee exemptions. The total cost of a Green Card is over $1,000 and includes fees for adjusting a foreign national’s immigration status, the collection of fingerprints and other biometric information used for security checks. You may also incur costs for medical records and other documentation requirements.
2. Visa Lottery Winners are Guaranteed a Green Card
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as the Green Card lottery, annually awards up to 50,000 United States Permanent Resident Visas to applicants whose country of origin has low immigration rates to the U.S. in the last five years. Before being granted a visa, lottery winners must submit documents and have an interview with the American consul. If the lottery rules were violated or disqualifying information is found in your documents or interview, you may be denied a Green Card.
3. You Need a Lawyer to Get a Green Card
The information, forms and requirements to apply for a green card are available for free on the USCIS website. Many people attempt to DIY their immigration applications. Immigration law can be confusing and the regulations change frequently. Mistakes and omissions or missing deadlines on your Green Card application can cost you time and money – and even result in getting your application denied. Experienced immigration attorneys immigrants are less likely to make mistakes and can avoid potential pitfalls in your application.
Immigration Simplified offers cost-effective access to a professional immigration attorney. An Immigration Simplified attorney will guide you through the process and help you file correctly the first time. We review your situation, create and provide you with the proper forms and then help you submit it to the right agency. Contact us today to get started, or call (312) 883-9944.