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Five typical steps when applying for a green card

You're interested in applying for a green card so that you can live legally in the United States, but you're not sure how the process is going to play out. While it can be a bit intimidating when this is your first time dealing with the authorities, there are five simple steps that make up most cases.

First off, you often need someone to be a sponsor. This could be a family member who already lives in the United States, for example.

Next, you have to choose the specific type of document you're filing for after the immigrant petition itself is approved. For instance, you may be able to file for a visa or a green card. In your case, you pick the green card.

After that, you need to provide identifying information to the government. This includes pictures of yourself, copies of your fingerprints and your signature.

The fourth step is the interview. This is the most intimidating to many people simply because the stakes are so high. It's easy to provide fingerprints and pictures, but you don't want to say the wrong thing in the interview and have your application denied.

The key is to plan ahead. Be prepared for the questions you're going to be asked, answer honestly, and be helpful. The more you know about how the interview will go and what information to provide, the better.

The fifth step is simple: You're told of the government's decision. Waiting can be tough, but you'll find out if you're being denied or given the green card.

With every step of the process, it's crucial to know your rights and how best to proceed, giving yourself the best chance of creating the life you want in the U.S.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Green Card," accessed Aug. 24, 2017

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