Getting a green card is a major accomplishment for many U.S. immigrants. Tens of thousands apply each year, but only a small percentage are successful.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) looks at several factors when determining whether an applicant is eligible for a green card.
Green card applicants with criminal histories face additional scrutiny during the consular process. The questions investigators must address include:
- How severe was the crime?
- How long ago did the crime occur?
- Has the applicant faced arrest since entering the U.S.?
In many cases, any criminal activity results in a denial.
Individuals who suffer certain severe health conditions may not be eligible for green card status. The criteria for determining whether illness is an exclusionary factor include:
- The nature of the condition
- How the illness affects the applicant’s ability to work or attend school
- How much medical treatment will cost in the U.S.
The following changes or life events can make your application difficult to investigate and may delay the consular process:
- Surpassing the age of 21
- Change of address
- Getting married or divorced
These changes may also impact eligibility or availability. If you experience one or more of these changes while awaiting a visa decision, you should notify the National Visa Center about your Green Card petition.
Applying for a green card and waiting for a decision can be a complicated and stressful process, especially if you are not sure about your eligibility factors. Proper research and understanding of immigration law are essential to those looking to become U.S. residents or citizens.