Residency in USA - How to Apply - Getting a Green Card and More

How to Apply for Residency in USA?

Published:   |  Updated:   |  Posted in: Residency
How to Apply for Residency in USA?

As one of the strongest economies in the world, America attracts immigrants from virtually every single country on the map. Every year, millions of workers and students head to the US, searching for a better tomorrow. Since its inception in 1776 CE, America has been sheltering people escaping poverty, hunger, genocide, or simply a mundane lifestyle. Even today, it’s the place where you can achieve your dreams, earn a decent living, and eventually become a citizen of the world’s only superpower.

But the pathway to US citizenship starts with getting permanent residency in America.

Want to know how to become a resident in the US? Read this blog to find the necessary information to become a permanent resident in America. A bright future awaits you in the land of the free!

8 Benefits of Getting a Green Card

Good news for you—the US government issued green cards to 10 million folks between 2013 and 2022. In other words, around a million people got residency in the US in a single year. If you’re planning to get your green card and eventually become a US citizen, the timing is perfect.

But a green card is more than a permission slip to live in the US and find a decent job. It brings you closer to citizenship than you can imagine; green card holders enjoy many of the same benefits a person born on American soil enjoys. Check out these fantastic reasons to get residency in the USA:

  • Apply for US citizenship in five years (or three if you have a marriage-based green card).
  • Even if you don’t apply for citizenship, your green card stays valid for ten years. After that, you’ll have to renew it.
  • The government won’t be able to deport you to your country of origin.
  • You can sponsor immediate family members to apply for a visa or become green card holders.
  • If you travel internationally, a valid green card lets you return to the US easily within a year. You don’t need a visa every time you reenter America.
  • Even though you can’t vote, you can still contribute to the country’s politics by volunteering for a political campaign or making financial contributions.
  • Many federal benefits usually accessible to citizens are open to you, such as food security programs, Medicaid, and Social Security. You can even apply for student loans.
  • Starting a business in the US is way easier for green card holders.

No wonder green card applications have skyrocketed since 2020, and more foreigners—from EU nations to Third World countries alike—are flocking to obtain permanent US residency.

How to Become a Permanent US Resident?

Now, you may be excited to learn more. How to become a resident in the US? Before we explore a few different ways to get a green card, here’s what you need to know about it:

  • The USCIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services) will process your green card application.
  • Once approved, you’ll become an LRP or Lawful Permanent Resident (a.k.a. green card holder).
  • A green card is valid for ten years unless it’s temporary or conditional, in which case it expires in two years.

Now, check out these diverse routes to get residency in America and become a citizen one day:


Many foreigners marry their way into the United States every year. But intent is the key here; marrying a US citizen for immigration purposes won’t lead to a green card. Only genuine marriages count.


As stated above, you can sponsor an immediate family member to get a green card. In addition to the spouse, you can invite your parents and children (under 21, unmarried) to live with you in the US.


If you have an H1B work visa, you can get a labor certification. It’ll pave the way for your green card. Students can also try the same method if they’re interested in getting a green card for the USA.


You can get a green card if your employer transfers you from country X to the United States. There are a few conditions to meet here, however, such as:

  • You must have an American employer.
  • The employer must be doing business in the US for a year.
  • You’re transferred to a managerial position in the United States.


You can also apply for the green card lottery to become a US resident. This diversity lottery welcomes 55,000 individuals from different countries yearly to live in the US. So, try your luck and get a hassle-free green card.

But the fastest route to US residency and eventually citizenship is to invest. In today’s business-driven world, where entrepreneurs have almost universal respect, you can easily apply for residency in any foreign country by investing a sizeable amount in the local economy.

Applying for Residency from within the US

If you’re already living in the United States, then apply for a green card to become a lawful resident. So, this is what you need to know about this method:

  • It’s called adjusting your status.
  • You need to fill out Form I-485.
  • The process takes 13 to 20 months.
  • You must pay an application fee of $1,760.

Now, check out this simple yet time-consuming way to get residency in the US:

Step #1

Check your eligibility and ensure you can realistically apply for a green card. Determine the immigration category you qualify for and then check the eligibility requirements for that category. It’ll make the next few steps like a breeze.

Step #2

You won’t fill out Form I-485 at this stage. First, your family or employer must file a petition. Only after it gets approved, you can apply for a green card. We call it an immigration petition. Forms I-130, I-140, and others are examples of an immigration petition.

Step #3

Check your visa availability and then submit Form I-485 to begin the green card application process. You have now officially requested the USCIS to adjust your status.

Step #4

You’ll give your biometrics at a local Application Support Center (ASC) for ID verification and background check. After that, the USCIS will call you for an interview (if they deem it necessary).

Step #5

Did you forget to submit all the necessary documents? Don’t fret; the USCIS will call you and demand the missing paperwork. So, keep checking your case status regularly by dialing 800-375-5283.

Step #6

If the USCIS approves your application, you’ll receive an approval notice first. Then, your PRC will arrive sometime later. Congratulations—you’re now a permanent resident of the US!

Applying for Residency from outside the US

In most cases, foreigners from different countries apply for residency in the US. For instance, you want a sibling to live in America with you. In that case, you’ll go through this residency method. This is what you should bear in mind about it:

  • It’s called consular processing.
  • You need to fill out Form I-130.
  • The process takes 13 to 15 months.
  • You must pay an application fee of $1,200.

Just like before, you can check out a step-by-step process of getting US residency down here:

Step #1

Ensure you are eligible to come and live in America via consular processing. The USCIS will prefer people based on their family category. Spouses and unmarried kids under 21 have the first preference. Brothers and sisters are the least-privileged individuals for a green card.

Step #2

Fill out Form I-130, a petition to bring your alien relatives to the United States. This form is simply for family reunification, so you can’t bring your cousins or uncles to America via this route.

If they qualify for Form I-130, your American relative can start the green card process independently; they do not need to head to the US for this purpose. For instance, your US-born spouse can initiate the green card process even if you live outside the United States.

Step #3

Prepare to submit Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) to prove that you can care for your America-bound relative’s financial needs. A correctly prepared Form I-864 is necessary to accelerate the green card application process.

Step #4

Now, it’s time for you to apply for a green card. But first, you have to fill out Form DS-260 to apply for a visa. Submit the visa application through the CEAC website and get a printout of the confirmation page.

You will take this printout with you when attending the green card interview.

Step #5

You’ll submit all your civil documents (e.g., birth/marriage certificates, etc.) at this stage. If these documents were issued in a different language, just translate them into English. You’ll then appear for a medical exam to attend your immigration interview. Passing this immigration visa interview is necessary to get proper residency in the US.

Step #6

Sometime later, your green card will arrive, officially making you a permanent resident of the US.

10 Reasons why Green Card Applications are denied

Most green card applications (88%) get the seal of approval from the USCIS. However, the USCIS rejects 12% of LRP applications, blocking the applicant’s path to becoming a US citizen. You may wonder why this application gets denied in some cases. Please don’t lose your sleep over it; here are ten common mistakes folks make when applying for residency in the US. Avoid these mistakes, and you’re good to go:

  • Your spouse’s divorce wasn’t final when you two married.
  • You married your same-sex partner in a country where such a union isn’t recognized.
  • You should have translated your non-English documents into English or submitted the original file with the translation.
  • You need to pay the correct fee for your green card form.
  • Fill out your form completely and write “N/A” if it doesn’t apply to your case.
  • Attach passport-size photos; no other resolution is acceptable.
  • You forgot to put your signature on relevant lines; only wet ink signatures are valid.
  • Specific medical issues can render you ineligible to get a green card.
  • A questionable criminal record is also why green card applications are denied.
  • Lying on one’s form or misrepresenting oneself is an obvious reason why the USCIS will not give a person a green card.

We’re sure your green card application will be fine if you’ve done your due diligence, gathered the much-needed paperwork, and translated relevant documents into English.


This article explains how to become a resident in the US, putting you on the fast track to citizenship in 3 to 5 years. A “green card” is what you need to become a permanent US citizen, and there are many ways to get your hands on one. You can try the marriage route, get residency via investment, or apply for the green card lottery. Applying for a green card from within the US requires filling out Form I-485, adjustment of status. If you’re applying from another country, look into consular processing.

However, all these different methods have one thing in common: You need to translate your documents into English. Reach out to professionals at TranslateSwift to convert your non-English documents into lingua franca to accelerate the green card approval process, starting from $27 per page only.

Secure your future in America by placing an order now. You’ll receive an accurately translated document within 24 hours. English-language documents will speed up this process, and you’ll be a resident soon.

FAQs – Residency in USA

Why is it called a Green Card?

Receiving a green card means you’re now legally a permanent resident of the United States. Its greenish color gave it the moniker of “green card.” In the past, people called it the certificate of alien registration.

Does a Green Card make me a US Citizen?

No, a green card only means you can live and work on American soil, but you can’t vote in elections. You don’t have the privileges of citizenship. But with a green card, you may become a citizen in 3 to 5 years.

How much will it Cost to Get a Green Card?

If you are currently living in the United States, the government filing fee is $1,760. But for a person living outside of the US, the filing fee is just $1,200. Applicants always pay the medical exam cost separately.

How long does it take to get a Green Card?

The wait time for green card applicants is at least 13.5 months. If you’re applying from another country, you won’t have to wait more than 15 months. However, applicants living in the US sometimes get a green card after 20 months.

When will my Green card Expire?

Don’t worry; a regular green card expires after a decade. However, if you have obtained a temporary or conditional green card, it’ll expire after two years, and you’ll have to renew it.