The DV-2011 Green Card Lottery has now been open for 3 weeks approximately and millions of people from around the world have already applied at the Official Green Card Lottery site.
Many also have noted many issues with the site this year particular with checking and uploading their photo as per the specific green card lottery requirements. Please continue to try as it seems like a sporadic issue and many people have successfully applied.
Some of the questions we have been getting this year revolve around the;
– Spouse Condition: In the US for a foreign immigrant and for this application, a spouse is someone you are legally married too and must be man/woman relationship. The US does not recognize common law, defacto or gay marriage for foreigners so if you have someone like this they will need to apply for the lottery separately. If one of you win and you are in a heterosexual relationship, you will have to marry your spouse for them to be able to come to the US under your application.
– Documenting Children: All non US citizen children must be documented on the application as this can be grounds for disqualification. This is required even if you are not married or in a relationship with the other parent.
– Countries Allowed to Apply: We documented in your link at the top for the DV-2011 which countries’ citizens are not allowed to apply. The only exception to this if you are a citizen of these countries is if at the time of your birth one of your parents was not a legal permanent resident or citizen of this country and was a citizen of an eligible country
– Social Security: For this question it means, have you ever applied for a US Social Security number and not one in any other country
– Pending Permanent Residency & US Visa Applications: Anyone currently on a US visa or applying for one, or going through a current Permanent Residency Application (Green Card Application) including t applications for the K1 Visa for Fiancees of US Citizens and the K3 Marriage Visa for spouses of US citizens can freely apply for the Green Card Lottery without any affect negatively to their status, visa or application.
The Green Card Lottery ends at the end of November so while getting your application early doesn’t mean you increase your chances, it is one thing less to worry about in case something happens to the site or you just forget because of the hectic nature of your own life.
Please also beware of the many scams operating at this time. You do not need to pay anything to apply for the Green Card Lottery as it is completely free via the US State Department official website.
We have written posts in the past about what exactly a green card is and how you can apply for one. One of the ways is of course via the Green Card Lottery, then there is the more common employer sponsored green cards if you are on a visa like the H1B visa or E3 Visa and also the more difficult EB-5 visa category for foreigners starting a business.
However the most common are the family sponsored Green Cards. Whether that be via the K-1 visa where a US citizen chooses to marry someone from another country within the US, via the K-3 visa where a US citizen has already married a foreigner abroad and is looking to bring them to the US or the one which we will discuss today which is family sponsored green cards for immediate relatives like parents, older children and adult siblings.
These are generally not subject to numerical limits (possibly with exception of adult siblings) and also have the lowest processing times which is sometimes as short as 5 months, which in US Immigration world is like lightning 🙂
To qualify and be eligible to sponsor what the US Immigration system deems an immediate relative to be, you must (a) Prove you are a US citizen (or legal Permanent Resident with a Green Card) with documentation such as a US Passport or Naturalization Certificate and (b) Be above a designated income threshold and thus have the ability to support the relative you are sponsoring at 125% above the mandated poverty line.
The process can be quite involved which is why unfortunately in my opinion so many people become hopelessly lost and because they desperately want the application to have no issues are forced into the greedy waiting arms of an Immigration Attorney. Suddenly and sadly a fundamental human right in a free society like a family reunion now has a financial tag and burden which says a lot about the current US Immigration system.
- Essentially this step is a lot of what I mentioned above in that it has to proved that the sponsor is a US Citizen or Permanent resident, then that an immediate family relationship does exist and finally that the immediate relative is essentially of good character (i.e. not a criminal or threat to US, etc.)
- Most often, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident will file an immigrant visa petition on Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)
- It is also possible to concurrently file the immigrant visa petition and the application for permanent residence on behalf of the relative themselves in certain family sponsored cases, This is filed on Form I-485 and called an adjustment of status usually when the relative is already in the country legally. However this is not always the case as with US citizens for example marrying illegal aliens as the US Immigration system calls them, which are generally people who came here illegally or over stayed their original non-immigrant visa like the J-1 visa. The biggest advantage of adjusting status is the ability of the immediate relative to get the permanent status i.e. green card without having to leave the United States. Now this is where they system becomes skewed to favoring the use of Immigration attorneys where the immediate relative may not be a “perfect” candidate.
The benefits of a Green Card or Permanent Residency are essentially boiled down to 3 main areas;
– Be able to study at any institution or work for any employer or indeed choose not to work/study
– Be able to come into and leave the US any time and any number of times
– Have the future possibility to apply for US Citizenship