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Green Card Process

There are two parts of the green card process: the immigrant visa, and the green card application. Frequently, the immigrant visa is processed first, while the green card application follows after a waiting period. The green card process can take from a few months to a few years, depending on various factors including the category you are applying with. Once you have arrived at official green card process, the entire procedure normally lasts under a year.

Immigration Process

If you’re looking for a permanent method to move into the U.S., there are categories of ways to do so. The Family-based method includes being married, having parents, children or even siblings. The Employment-based method enables companies to file for individuals, especially those with skills or education in the industry, and also allows individuals to file for themselves. The Diversity visa process is a method of a lottery. You can apply and be randomly selected by immigration. Once selected, you will be checked for eligibility including a background check for security. The Humanitarian-based method allows refugees, individuals within an asylum, or individuals in need of help, to file for a green card. 

What Happens After I get a Green Card?

Once you officially have your green card, you will have a number of responsibilities like every other permanent resident of the U.S. These include travel limitations such as spending time out of the country and being out of the states for more time than you are in the country. There are also restrictions on criminal activity, and just like citizens,  taxes must be filed. Failure to follow these conditions can result in the loss of your green card. 


The path to citizenship can vary greatly depending on the unique circumstances of each case. First, eligibility must be determined and an N-400 form needs to be filed. The timeline and chances of a successful pursuit of U.S. citizenship can depend on the relationship between family members or extenuating circumstances. Those who seek a green card must meet certain criteria and understand the rights and responsibilities of being a green card holder. Obtaining and renewing a green card can depend on whether it is a family green card, job-related, or if there is asylum or refugee status involved. The process of proving refugee or asylum status requires meeting certain legal criteria related to the where a person is coming from and proof of the circumstances.

Vivian Salib Crowell, Esq., Partner

Vivian Salib Crowell, Esq., Partner


There are various types of visas available and each one has certain conditions which must be met. In Massachusetts, H-1B visas are popular as they can help professionals in certain fields live and work in the United States. Profession-based visas are available for fields including, but not limited to: scientists, engineers, researchers, and computer programmers. There are also permanent and temporary work visas for those in other fields or who have extraordinary ability or talents in certain fields. Obtaining these types of visas may require proof of experience or skill. Student F-1 or M-1 visas also involve specific standards and eligibility criteria. This includes being in school full-time, being enrolled in an approved school, and proving independent financial support.

Immigration Services
Immigration Services


Deportation or appealing a denial of a visa or green card can pose unique legal challenges. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement department can be overwhelming to deal with and go up against. The possibility of deportation can be frightening and upend an entire family and community. Immigration law is an area that requires unique insight and training. If you are dealing with any kind of immigration matter, you need an experienced advocate who is up to date on the evolving laws and policies and dedicated to helping you get a successful outcome. Immigration law issues should never be faced alone. According to Trac Immigration Reports having an experienced immigration attorney representing you is important in immigration proceedings involving women with children. The amount of paperwork, deadlines for filing for certain documents, and changing eligibility criteria all make dedicated and dependable legal assistance a necessity, not a luxury. Shapiro Law Grouprepresents clients in Boston Massachusetts as well as New England for all area of immigration law. We understand what is at stake and can help guide you through the process, explain the laws, and ensure you are fully aware of your options. Our goal is to fight for your rights and help you achieve the dream of living and working in the United States legally and safely.

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