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Green Card Application

Overview of the Application Process for a Green Card

Procedure Name: Green Card Application for the non-U.S. residents, Green Card registration Form I-551.
Purpose: Applying for a Green Card in order to get the legal permanent resident status, that allows you to live permanently in the United States with many rights and responsibilities, including the legal right to work and study in the United States.
Eligible applicants: Non-U.S.residents.
How to obtain the Green Card: The petition and the application can be filled in the United States, or in some cases, the process can be started in the United States embassy abroad.
 How to apply: Order this guide to learn more details about the application process and to learn how to start Green Card application.

Can a Student with an F-1 student visa obtain a green card and become a permanent resident?

The F-1 student visa is categorized as a non-immigrant visa, because it gives you the right to live in the U.S. temporarily during the time you are studying, but is not intended for people who want to live permanently in the U.S.  In general it is not possible to obtain a green card holder (permanent resident) directly through a student visa.  However some students, upon graduation, apply for a job and obtain an H1B work visa or another type of what is called a “dual status” visa, and then after obtaining their H1B work visa or another dual status visa, apply for a Green Card through their employer.

Some students after or before graduation have an Optional Training Program (OPT) allowing them to temporary employment that is directly related to their F-1 student’s major area of study, the OPT can be before (pre-) and/or after (post-) completion of studies. Sometimes and OPT employer would be very satisfied with the work performed by the student during his Optional Training Program and decides to offer him a permanent job, applying for an H1B work visa. People studying in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics, called STEM fields, have special rules and benefits for their OPT. Even if the current employer doesn’t offer the OPT student a job, the student has the advantage of be able to stay in the U.S. for longer time after his studies while working on his OPT, acquire work experience and contact other potential employers that could sponsor him for the H1B visa.

Application for the H1B “Dual Intent” Work Visa

There may be other types of work visas available, but the H1B is the most common for professionals that just graduated from a U.S. university and wish to work in the U.S., one of the big advantages of the H1B visa is that is a dual intent work visa for immigration purposes, what means that you are allowed to work as a non-immigrant worker, meaning that after finishing working for a certain amount of time you will leave the U.S., but at the same time this visa has the dual option to allow you to apply for a Green Card (Legal Permanent Residency) while still working with your current work visa. The H-1B visa is not the only work visa allowing this dual intent; also the L-1 visa for corporate transferees and the O-1 visa for workers with extraordinary ability are considered dual intent visas, among other visa types.

If a student finalizing his studies, receives a job offer in the U.S., then his prospective employer may sponsor the student to apply for an H1B work visa (for foreign professionals in specialty occupations). Depending on when the H1B visa is approved a student might be able to adjust status from the F-1 student visa to the H-1B work visa so that the student doesn’t have to leave the U.S. while waiting for his new job, but in some cases, the student may have to leave the U.S. and wait to travel back into the U.S. once his H-1B work visa is approved. The current law imposes a cap for aliens who may be issued an H1-B visa. Spouses and children of H visa holders are eligible to accompany the principal applicant so long as the principal applicant is able to show that he/she will be able to support his/her family while in the United States. Spouse means only those who are legally married since common-law marriage is not recognized by U.S. Immigration law. There are many requirements and evidence of support required to obtain a Green Card through your current employment.

Naturalization for Green Card Holder

If an individual is able to obtain a green card through employment, he could be eligible to apply for the U.S. citizenship through the process of naturalization, after having his green card for certain required years. The permanent resident must comply with some requirements to be able to become a citizen. Some naturalization requirements may be modified or waived for certain applicants, including the spouses of U.S. Citizens or individuals currently serving in the U.S. military.

Green Card Derivatives

With most green card application petitions, the applicant’s derivatives (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) may be included on the immigration petition and be eligible to receive a green card as derivatives of the main green card applicant.

How to apply for the Green Card?

Order the green card application package for step by step instructions on how to apply for a green card, including instructions to access and file permanent residence application forms.

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Green Card for Students Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Can a person with a F-1 student visa obtain a green card and become a permanent resident?
  • Application for the H1B “dual intent” work visa
  • Green Card through employment
  • Application for a Green Card
  • Employment authorization and Green Card for University Students
  • I am studying in the US with a student visa, can I work and obtain employment authorization?
  • I will finish my university studies very soon, do I have to go back to my country? or can I stay in the US after I finish my studies?
  • Are student visa holders allowed to adjust status into a Legal Permanent Residence?
  • Adjust status from F-1 student visa into green Card through marriage
  • Adjust status from student visa into green card through relatives
  • Change status from student visa into other non-immigrant visas
  • Green Card eligibility
  • Green Card application forms
  • H-1B Visa application forms
  • Student change of status related immigration forms 
  • Immigration filing fees
  • Green Card information
  • Derivative status for relatives

For more information about Green Cards and Student Visas order and download this information guide now.

Green Card Application
Order the green card application package for step by step instructions on how to apply for a green card, including instructions to access and file permanent residence application forms.

Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with the government, we are a private publisher of information guides. This product only includes instructions, it does not include filing fees, or any other charges to submit your application.