If a foreigner does not have a green card and is planning on marrying an American citizen, then he or she may be able to apply for a green card on the basis of marriage.
A green card marriage will not automatically result in a greed card becoming available for the foreign individual. The marriage must be completed and certified, and then the individual who is from a foreign nation will be able to apply for a green card through marriage. The application process thus must still run its course, and even afterward, it is likely that a green card through marriage will have certain stipulations attached to it, such as an expiration date significantly before the normal expiration dates of green cards.
This means that a green card marriage will likely only result in a conditional green card, which will only be turned into a full green card after the right amount of time has passed. This is done in order to prevent instances of those who attempt to marry for a green card from being able to do so with as much ease, as the marriage must last for at least two years for a full green card marriage application to be submitted and accepted.
To get a green card, one will most likely have to submit an application with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. There are many types of a USA greencard for which one can apply. The primary ways to get a green card include applying for a green card through family members who are American residents or citizens, applying for a green card through a job, and applying for a green card as a refugee or as a seeker of asylum.
There are a number of other ways to get a green card, however, including getting a USA greencard through the Diversity Immigration Visa Program, getting a green card for an Armed Forces member, getting a green card for a special immigrant juvenile, and getting a green card as a foreign diplomat.
Applying for any of these types of USA greencard will be a slightly different process, as the application for each is slightly different and has different requirements. For example, to get a green card through a family member with a spouse holding US residency being the family member in question, an individual would have to be able to provide concrete legal documentation of the marriage, and would still only get a conditional USA greencard, instead of a full USA greencard.
The different applications for obtaining a USA greencard are all available on the website for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. To get a green card, an individual must select and fill out the proper application, and must then submit or file that application with the proper authorities. An application to get a green card may also be submitted online in some instances.
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When it comes to getting a green card, movie audiences might have a flawed understanding about how the green card program really works. They might be relying on older standards employed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service that were not as hard-line as the ones experienced by green card applicants today.
However, the Green Card movie, released in 1990 in the United States starring Andie MacDowell and Gérard Depardieu, is a fine example of how real complications and consequences can arise for those who try to become permanent residents of the United States in an illegitimate manner. In the Green Card movie, Bronte, MacDowell's character is unmarried and looking to rent an apartment with a greenhouse whose board of trustees would prefer a married green card.
After consulting with an attorney, Bronte and Georges learn the former may be charged with a crime defraud deported. While certain details of the green card program and immigration process are altered for comedic and dramatic effect, and today, the movie would have to be rewritten to encapsulate new standards and the very fact the Department of Homeland Security oversees (through the USCIS) these matters, as stated, the film does take the risk into account of marrying out of convenience for a green card. Movie audiences from foreign countries would be keen to remember there is some truth to this fairy tale romance.
To apply for a green card to the United States, for the sake of an analogy, is sort of like trying to find a table at a crowded restaurant with more people in the restaurant than the tables and chairs can accommodate. While the order in which a party puts a name on the waiting list has an impact on when they get called, different parties will have different odds of being the next one called, as bigger parties will only be able to fit at bigger tables, while couples can fit at tables small and large.
While size may not be an issue when it comes to those who apply for a green card, the time needed for green card processing may be dependent on the individual and their profession. Two of the most common ways people apply for a green card are through family and work. Not all family and work visas are made equal, however. In fact, some may experience longer green card processing times based on a priority system built into these categories.
Regarding those who apply for a green card based on a connection through family, there is a definite pecking order. For spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21, there are an unlimited amount of visas available to be secured prior to obtaining a green card. For all other categories, though, there are yearly quotas attached and a tiered preference system, meaning these relatives will be subject to the rigors of the green card processing system. There are four tiers for the family-oriented green card system after spouses of U.S. citizens, parents and unmarried children under 21.
First priority is given to unmarried children of U.S. citizens above the age of 21. Following them are spouses of a permanent resident and (note that someone with a green card who is a permanent resident is not the same thing as a citizen) those unmarried children who are over 21 years of age. Rounding out the category are the married children of U.S. citizens and their families, and last but unfortunately least in order of preference, brothers and sisters of citizens. Green card processing for this last category may take upwards of a decade to complete.
Regarding those who apply for a green card in order to serve our country through work, there is also a totem pole of sorts. Here, distinctions are not made based on the closeness of familial connections or age, but on the type of service these immigrants may provide. Green card processing is kindest first to those who possess an extraordinary talent, ability, depth of knowledge or prestige.
After that, different skills are taken into account, and you can probably guess what the different groups would be. The second group earns their preference on the basis of an advanced degree or other special talent. After that, preference is afforded to skilled workers, then special classes of workers and finally workers whose toils will result in job creation for others.