DISCLAIMER: The following content is for educational and informational purposes only. Laura Marenco is not a lawyer and the following is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Each immigration case is unique. Always seek the advice of a licensed attorney with any questions you may have regarding immigration, visas, green cards, or any other immigration-related topics. Besides the links pertaining to our own products and services, Golden Beacon USA does not endorse nor is it affiliated with the companies, organizations or agencies and/or their products or services whose links are included in this post. Golden Beacon USA does not earn commissions from any of these entities. In addition, every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of this content. However, the content below and in the links is subject to change at any time without notice. Laura Marenco and Golden Beacon USA assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content provided below. The information contained in this blog is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness and without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied. Reliance on any of the information found in the content below is solely at your own risk.
Put simply, moving to a new country can be stressful! On top of the endless logistics of packing, transportation, and setting up your new life, immigrating to the United States comes with a lot of confusing laws, paperwork, and phrases.
Here at Golden Beacon USA, we’re passionate about helping you transition smoothly into your new life in America.
To help make your journey more manageable, we’ve put together this list of the top 10 most frequently asked questions about immigrating to the United States!
There are many different kinds of visas available to people looking to immigrate to the United States. Whether you’re relocating for family, employment, or qualify for special visas like the Diversity Immigrant Visa, there are various visa statuses for you to consider. If you’re unsure of which visa you should be applying for, click here to learn more!
2. Does having a visa guarantee me entry into the United States?
While an immigrant visa allows you to travel to a United States port-of-entry (usually an airport or a land border) where you can request access to enter the country, having a visa does not guarantee entry. At the border, you’ll go through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, where officials will either permit or deny entry into the United States and tell you how long you’re able to stay.
3. What’s the difference between an immigrant visa and a green card?
A visa is required to enter the United States legally. Following entry into the country, the government will either grant you Permanent or Conditional Resident status depending on your situation and a green card will be then mailed to your address. Processing times to receive a green card vary.
4. What is a green card?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, issues “green cards” which prove that you are a legal and permanent resident of the United States. Green cards provide you with the ability to live and work anywhere in America, apply for a Social Security Number and get a state-issued driver’s license.
5. How do you get a green card and how long does it take?
If you’re looking to immigrate to the United States, there are a variety of ways to obtain a green card, and each method will take a different amount of time, depending on your situation. Check your eligibility for a green card here. This process can last a little less than a year to 3 years or more.
6. How much does a green card cost?
Each green card application is unique, and the cost will vary depending on your situation and the forms associated with it. The USCIS Immigrant Fee goes towards the processing of your immigration visa packet and your green card. The fee is $220 and can be paid after you receive your visa but before you leave for the U.S. or once you are in the U.S. However, you will not receive your green card if you do not pay the fee. Certain fee waivers are available for those who qualify. Green cards based on marriage will cost between $1200 to $1800, and you’ll also be responsible for paying for the medical exams required in the process. You can view all of the USCIS fees here .
7. What is the difference between a “lawful permanent resident” and a “conditional permanent resident?”
Otherwise known as a “green card holder,” a lawful permanent resident is an immigrant who is legally able to live and work in the United States and eventually apply for permanent citizenship. On the other hand, a conditional permanent resident holds a green card that is only valid for two years. Conditions include being married for less than two years or working as an entrepreneur.
8. Once I have a green card, does it need to be renewed?
Almost all green cards need to be renewed every ten years. However, “conditional” green cards — those based on marriage and entrepreneurship — are only valid for 2 years and cannot be renewed. Instead, you must file a petition to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status.
9. Where can I find healthcare in America?
You may have access to health insurance and healthcare through your spouse or employer. You can also buy health insurance through the federal government’s health insurance marketplace, healthcare.gov. However, there are also plenty of low-cost and free options when it comes to healthcare! Read our blog or click here to find the closest free healthcare option to you!
10. What resources are there for immigrants in America?
Moving to a new country can be intimidating and expensive! Click here for a comprehensive guide to your eligibility as an immigrant for public programs in the United States. Our Resource Referrals and e-learning videos on American culture and resources can also help make your transition as easy as possible! Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text (866) 403-7173. Remember, you are not alone!