Congratulations, you managed to reach the United States, and now you are looking to make a life for yourself. But entering the United States is only the first step in a long journey toward becoming a legal immigrant. Before you even think about working or settling down, you will have to get your legal papers, which begs the question — how do I get papers in the United States?
Why Do I Need Papers in the United States?
Although you might be thinking that legal papers are just a commodity, they are mandatory if you are looking to build yourself a future in the country. They not only allow you to work legally but also protect you from getting deported without a valid reason. In fact, over 10% of immigrants that don’t have a Green Card get deported every year. That’s why we are here, to answer the question of how do I get papers in the United States.
How Do I Get a Green Card?
Getting a Green Card is the first thing you should strive toward once you reach the United States. And while the process of getting one might look complex, it is much more straightforward than it seems.
First of all, you need to check if you are eligible for a Green Card, as they have a few requirements. Generally speaking, you can apply for a Green Card if you are an immigrant worker, a refugee, a victim of abuse, or fall into any of the other special categories. You can check them all on the US Citizenship and Immigration website.
Once you are eligible for a Green Card, all you have to do is to fill out the I-485 form. Then you will be contacted by the US Immigration Services in order to schedule an interview. If you pass the interview, you will get a Green Card, which is usually valid for ten years.
How Do I Get a Work Permit?
If you are looking to work in the United States but don’t plan to make it a permanent residence, you will have to apply for a work permit. Without one, you can not work legally in the country, and you become eligible for deportation. To do so, you need to check your eligibility on the USCIS website and then apply using the I-765 form.
Additionally, if you are already applying for a Green Card, you are automatically eligible to register for a work permit. In fact, many immigrants are applying for both at the same time, allowing you to reduce the waiting time.
Overall, it’s perfectly normal to ask yourself how do I get papers in the United States. That’s because getting legal papers is the most important thing you can do if you are an illegal alien. And while things might be overwhelming at first, in the end, getting the right documents is worth the hassle. Luckily, there are a lot of online resources and guides that can help you in that endeavor. And if you find yourself looking for more immigration aid, you can always check more of our guides at ABC’s for Immigrants.