The process for the green card: what should and should not be done

The process to obtain a green card can be slow and complicated. Not all foreign citizens qualify for permanent residence in the United States, but if you qualify, we recommend following this list:

What to do

FOLLOW  exactly the instructions on the forms of the Office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If USCIS did not believe that the information is important, it would not have included it in the forms. If all requested information is not provided, there may be significant delays in processing .

ATTACH  all the documents mentioned in the forms and provide the corresponding translations when necessary. In most cases, USCIS will not process the forms if any document is missing.

FOLLOW  USCIS instructions regarding photographs. The local USCIS office can even have a photographer on site. It is advisable to ask.

CALL  the local USCIS office or visit the office in person if you have questions. You can also access the  USCIS website (in English) .

REQUEST  an interpreter if you have difficulty understanding English. Many USCIS offices have interpreters available. Just in case, it is best to bring your own interpreter.

Hire  an immigration attorney if you have previously been denied entry to the United States, have been deported, convicted of a crime or made false statements to the USCIS, have remained in the country beyond the expiration date of your visa or if you are currently in the country illegally.

INFORM  your lawyer about all the times that you have previously been denied entry to the United States, have been deported, convicted or made false statements to the USCIS, have worked without authorization or have remained in the country beyond the date of expiration of your visa. Your lawyer can determine if some of these problems can be solved or if they are important in relation to your immigration goals. If you do not reveal possible immigration problems and this causes you to submit immigration forms with false information, you may be deported and may be prohibited from returning to the United States.

Consult  with a lawyer if you are considering accepting public benefits , such as social assistance or participating in the assistance program for families with dependent children. If the USCIS has reason to believe that you have become a “public charge,” you could lose your green card.

What not to do

DO NOT  commit any crime. Your green card will not prevent you from being deported.

DO NOT  get involved in subversive political activities.

DO NOT  illegally enter other foreigners into the United States.

DO NOT charge  other people for legal assistance. Even if your experience in obtaining the green card has made you an expert, it is not legal to practice law without a license.

DO NOT  give the impression of not living in the United States once you get the green card. If you leave the United States for a long time, you may lose the green card.

DO NOT  lie on any form of the USCIS.

DO NOT  lie to USCIS officials.

DO NOT  leave blank parts of the forms or assume that some part of the form is not important. If the information does not really apply to you, enter “N / A” or “None.” For example, if you are not married, you must place “N / A” on the parts of the forms where you are asked for information about your spouse. But if the form asks for your addresses during the last five years, you must provide the complete addresses, taking into account all periods.

DO NOT  open the envelope containing the results of your medical exams. If you want to see the results of your exams, most doctors will give you a copy.

How to get legal help with the immigration process

The visa application process can be complicated and involve many forms and documentation. In order to avoid problems and ensure a favorable outcome, applicants to receive a visa should contact an immigration lawyer to provide them with key advice and guide them properly.

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