Green Card Application Process Flow Chart


For this project, my partner and I researched the process required to obtain a U.S. green card, which allows an immigrant to permanently live in the country.  The actual steps and forms that are needed depend on a person's reason for coming.  We decided to apply as a family member of a U.S. citizen and filled out three forms: I-130, Petition for Alien Relative; DS-230, Application for Alien Registration; and I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.  Regardless of a person's reason, numerous questions must be answered about the immigrant's history and future plans to ensure he or she is admissible.    

The forms were a nightmare to complete.  The same questions were repeated multiple times and clear instructions were never given on how to proceed after a form was filed.  The most upsetting realization I had was that immigrants were required to go through this same process.  If my partner and I, both English-speaking seniors, had this much confusion during the process, it must be nearly impossible for a person just learning English to do.

This bureaucratic function has become so complicated because over the years, the United States' immigration standards have become more exacting.  Many believe that if a person cannot complete the process, they do not deserve to be in the U.S. While unfair, this country is very elitist and that is shown in the processes of our bureaucracy.   

Throughout the process, I couldn't help but notice how expensive it was.  To obtain a green card through family, it cost $1,845 in filing fees.  This is a ridiculous amount, especially for an immigrant who is probably looking for a better life in the U.S.  On top of this large sum, lawyers are almost always needed, given the complicated language in the paperwork.  If I could change one part of this process, I would change this price.  Unfortunately, obtaining a green card has a prohibitive price tag for many immigrants. 

Link to flow chart: