The Road to Citizenship: How to Get a Green Card

People who work for the Citizenship Services arm of U.S. Immigration have at least a fair experience of screening immigrants applying for a green card. That said, they uphold the highest standards when checking requirements according to if they are met and conducting interviews. This, along with stringent immigration laws, makes it hard for even those qualified to get their green card.

Finally, owning a green card opens a person to more options like residency, education, employment, healthcare, business, suffrage, and even a chance of American citizenship. It is hard to imagine being denied these promising benefits, especially for those who have a detailed plan from when they set foot in the country.

Among the possible courses of action, getting picked in the Green Card Lottery is the easiest to participate in. Still, it would require the applicant to submit requirements in a highly specific format and strictly within deadlines. Either way, the basic requirement is for an applicant to currently have a job in the U.S. Although one can reapply after being denied, the tough part is the government does not disclose the reasons for the initial rejection, and the applicant could commit the same errors without knowing them. That is why a temporary worker visa holder, for instance, would seek the aid of an employment-based immigration lawyer.

The stringent application process serves as a reminder for aspiring immigrants to deeply internalize what it takes a level of responsibility to stay in the U.S. for good. Besides, the processing requires shelling out huge sums of money; no one would want to pay at such a high price. To help an applicant get further from the chances of being denied, it is, therefore, important to know the following common grounds for denial:

Criminal Record

Having committed crimes like embezzlement, prostitution, rape, drug smuggling, and bribery within the U.S.’s jurisdiction provides the government with a strong ground to deny you a green card. Have any one of these crimes appear twice on your record, even past convictions that were expunged, and this would further justify your inadmissibility. It is worth noting that the application paperwork involves filling out Form I-485, the questions in which you must answer with a Yes or a No. Having a Yes to any one of the questions would immediately rule you as inadmissible, therefore, automatically denying you a green card.

Inability to Support Yourself

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You will also be screened for your long-term capability to be financially independent while living in the U.S. If upon the overall assessment of your financial status, assets, education, and job competencies, the government concludes that you will need financial support from the U.S., you will be denied a green card. Lately, even having family submit an immigrant petition or Affidavit of Support for you will not suffice for a green card unless you belong to an immigrant class that does not need such an affidavit.

Health Issues

Your fitness to become a permanent resident lies in the result of a medical examination done only by a government-approved physician. If you’re found to carry a contagious disease, therefore being potential harm to the public, this could lead to the dismissal of your application. Other health-related grounds for green card denial include not complying with vaccination requirements, drug addiction, and mental disorders that could pose a public threat.

Involvement in Terrorist Activity

Suppose you are proven to having been involved in conspiring acts of espionage, terrorism, and sabotages against the government and the general public. In that case, you are automatically disqualified from having a green card. Being associated with extremist or genocidal groups provides just as strong ground for green card denial. Acts of breaching the U.S.’s export laws are also heavily dealt with when processing permanent residency applications.


Know ahead that immigration personnel is never lenient when it comes to erroneous entries in application forms; that is why it is important to read instructions with utmost care and accomplishing these forms cautiously. Intentionally indicating inaccurate personal information, which is tantamount to fraud, will automatically terminate your application. Not attending scheduled appointments, for fingerprinting and interviews, for instance, will be treated as another strike leading to green card denial.


The road to a green card isn’t easy. That is why it is important to seek assistance from legal experts. If your application is denied, however, don’t think it’s all over as you can file for a motion to reopen your application within 30 days of receipt of the official decision or redo the application process.

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