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What is the Fastest Way to Obtain a Green Card to Immigrate Into the USA?

Updated on February 15, 2010

 Having worked as an INS officer, I can tell you a not so secret about how to become a US Citizen and obtain a Green card the fastest. I have encountered people trying to immigrate into the US legally for 12 or more years. The process is slow even by the fastest method- the best case scenario is five to seven years to become a US Citizen. The worst-case scenario is 12 to 28 years.

The prerequisite in becoming a US citizen is obtaining a Green Card that establishs you have the legal right to be here. The fastest way to get the Green card is to marry a US Citizen or have family in the US that permanent residents or US citizens. If you are a relatives parent, spouse or minor child. If you are you can obtain a Green card in a quick manner. There is no annual limit to any of these categories with ties to a US citizen. People in this category usually get a Green Card with very little wait period. If you are a spouse of a US Citizen you must wait three years before you are elgible to be a US Citizen and apply ($675). If not a spouse, the wait is five years before you can apply for citizenship. Once you apply for citizenship, the wait is another year.

INS scrutinizes non US citizen spouses entering. Many women and men marry a US citizen for this reason and once they get a Green card they divorce. So, during the interviewing process and afterwards, periodic checks occur to validate the marriage in many obvious and not so obvious ways. If fraud is determined on any one's part, the spouse's Green card can be revoked and they will be sent home. Criminal charges can also occur to the US citizen as well if it is found they married for money, which happens a lot. INS continues to watch a marriage even after three years, if US citizenship has been applied for. So, both parties of the marriage should plan to stay together for at least three years.  

If you happen to be an adult child of a US citizen, you must apply for one and your waiting time varies with your own home country and marital status.A single adult child not married with US citizen relatives wait 6-14 yrs. Married adult children wait a little longer. If you are a brother or sister of a US Citizen, the wait is 10-12 yrs. This is the time to get a Green card.

If you have family in the USA which is a lawful permanent resident, you should be the spouse or child, if you are not, forget it. If you are and you are a minor child or spouse, you can apply for legal permanent status then wait 5-7 years until you get a Green card to immigrate to the USA. If you are an adult child and single, you can apply and wait 9-14 yrs for a Green card. If you are an adult child that is married, forget it, you cannot apply for a Green card.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 3 years ago

      Plan on it taking between 4 to 6 months or so, depending on where in the U.S. you live. Being that you are only here for 17 days is a problem, though.

    • profile image

      RJ 3 years ago

      My wife and 2 year old son are american , we got married in 2011 I work in UK and travel back and forth on ESTA visitor visa, what is the timeline of obtaining a green card. I only spend 17 days at a time in USA ( California ) with my wife . I am a UK citizen born in Wales.

    • growtogether profile image

      Jennie McCormick-Killian 4 years ago from Michigan

      I'm in the middle of all that right now, my interview for my second green card is approaching. A lot of paperwork, that's for sure!

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      Yes, scam marriages to a US citizen is expected. usually immigration will interview both parties separately and they make spot checks on suspected couples over a course of a few years. Green cards could be revoked for crimes.

    • immigrationhelp profile image

      immigrationhelp 5 years ago

      One of the most frequently asked questions I encounter is how to revoke a green card if it was acquired under the false pretense, specially conning someone into a marriage that was intended only to obtain a green card. From what I understand, a green card can be revoked if there is hard proof of the deceit. Is there any other way to get a green card revoked?

      Hell has no fury like a scorned woman. But if she was deceived, I think she deserves some payback.

    • profile image

      francis5k 5 years ago

      I think it's depends to the government law that's my opinion.

    • hazelickes profile image

      hazelickes 6 years ago

      Which one would be faster? Bringing the fiancé through fiancé visa, getting married and then applying for green card or bringing the spouse with the green card.

    • Jessicapotter24 profile image

      Jessicapotter24 6 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Basically a person become a Green Card holder in two ways - Adjustment of status & Consular processing

      Adjustment of status is what is described crisply in the above hub.I will just add little about consular processing

      Consular Processing is for applicants who want to become a Green Card Holder but are presently residing out of the US. An eligible person whose immigrant petition has been approved and has an immigrant visa number that is immediately available can apply for an immigrant visa. This visa application has to be filed in at a U.S. Department of State consulate abroad.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 7 years ago

      So long..

    • profile image

      Shawn 7 years ago

      God, so long, sigh... suicide.... //wrist

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 7 years ago

      Well, like you said, not everyone can get it so it is still valid in many cases.

    • profile image

      Mario 7 years ago

      The best case scenario is not 5-7 years. With the eb5 green card an investor can gain residency much quicker. While this is not an option for many, it does provide a quicker path to citizenship.