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The ultimate green card guide

The U.S. immigration system is an enormous bureaucracy, so it’s vital that you understand it before attempting to apply for a green card. Making a mistake can lead to delays and hassles or even ruin your chances for success.

How to Get a Green Card provides everything you need to know about qualifying for permanent U.S. residence if you don’t have an employer sponsoring you.

Find out how to work with U.S. officials and prepare and present the right documents at the right time to get a green card through:

  • parents, siblings, or adult children
  • a U.S. spouse or fiancé
  • green card lotteries (diversity visa)
  • political asylum or refugee status
  • a U visa for crime victims, or
  • another category you might qualify for.

The 14th edition covers new travel restrictions, public charge rules requiring more proof of income and health insurance coverage, changes to asylum eligibility, the wind-down of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and other new restrictions and procedural changes. It also includes samples of all the key application forms.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781413327441
Publisher: NOLO
Publication date: 07/28/2020
Edition description: Fourteenth Edition
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 1,206,267
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Ilona Bray, J.D. is an award-winning author and legal editor at Nolo, specializing in immigration law, real estate, and nonprofit fundraising. Many of her books are consistent Nolo bestsellers, among them Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits, U.S. Immigration Made Easy, and Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home. She particularly enjoys interviewing people and weaving their stories into her books.

Bray's working background includes solo practice, nonprofit, and corporate stints, as well as long periods of volunteering, including an internship at Amnesty International's main legal office in London. She received her law degree and a Master's degree in East Asian (Chinese) Studies from the University of Washington. In her spare time she enjoys writing children’s books, going to open houses, and gardening.

Table of Contents

Your Immigration Companion

1. Immigration Then and Now

2. All the Ways to Get a Green Card

3. Short-Term Alternatives to a Green Card

4. Will Inadmissibility Bar You From Getting a Green Card?

5. How Long You’ll Have to Wait

6. Fiancé and Fiancée Visas

7. Green Cards Through Marriage

8. Your Parents as Immigrants

9. Child Immigrants

10. Orphan Immigrants in Non-Hague-Convention Countries

11. The Diversity Visa Lottery

12. Your Brothers and Sisters as Immigrants

13. Refugees and Political Asylees

14. Military Veterans and Enlistees

15. Cancellation of Removal: Do Ten Illegal Years Equal One Green Card?

16. Adjustment of Status

17. Consular Processing

18. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

19. U Visas for Crime Victims Assisting Law Enforcement

20. Acquiring Citizenship Through U.S. Citizen Parents

21. Filling Out and Submitting Immigration Applications

22. Tracking Your Application Through the System

23. Keeping, Renewing, and Replacing Your Green Card

24. How to Find and Work With a Lawyer



While practicing immigration law, I helped hundreds of people obtain immigrant visas and green cards. Like other attorneys, I couldn’t believe how complex both the laws and the bureaucratic procedures were. There are simply too many ways for green-card applicants to make mistakes, and U.S. immigration officials sometimes further complicate matters by making mistakes of their own! Having switched from active law practice to writing, I am committed, with the help of a team of updaters, to making sure the average person, who lacks an employee sponsor, can understand the most likely ways to gain U.S. residence—as well as when and why it might be worth consulting with or hiring an attorney for assistance.

This book has been popular with readers for many years, and we make sure that every edition is completely reviewed, updated, and improved.

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