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Green Card - EB-4 - Frequently Asked Questions


What is the complete process to obtain legal permanent residency by filing a self-petition?

Notice of Receipt: You should receive an acknowledgement or Notice of Receipt within a few weeks after mailing the application and fee to the USCIS

Prima Facie Determination: Battered immigrants filing self-petitions who can establish a ‘prima facie’ case are considered ‘qualified aliens’ for the purpose of eligibility for public benefits (Section 501 of the Illegal Immigrant Responsibility and Immigration Reform Act (IIRIRA). The USCIS reviews each petition initially to determine whether the self-petitioner has addressed each of the requirements listed above and has provided supporting evidence. This may be in the form of a statement that addresses each requirement. This is called a prima facie determination

Note: If the Service makes a prima facie determination, the self-petitioner will receive a Notice of Prima Facie Determination valid for 150 days. The notice may be presented to state and federal agencies that provide public benefits.

Approved Self-petition: If the I-360 self-petition is approved, the Service may exercise the administrative option of placing the self-petitioner in ‘deferred action’, if the self-petitioner does not have legal immigration status in the U.S. ‘Deferred action’ means that the Service will not initiate removal (deportation) proceedings against the self-petitioner. Deferred action decisions are made by the Vermont Service Center and are granted in most cases. Deferred action validity is 27 months for those for whom a visa was available on the date that the self-petition was approved. All others have a validity of 24 months beyond the date a visa number becomes available. The VSC has the authority to grant appropriate extensions of deferred action beyond those time periods upon receipt of a request for extension from the self-petitioner

Employment Authorization: Self-petitioners and their derivative children who have an approved Form I-360 and are placed in deferred action are also eligible for an Employment Authorization Document. To apply for an EAD, Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, should be filed with the Vermont Service Center. Applicants should indicate that they are seeking employment authorization pursuant to 8 CFR 274a.12(c) (14). The Form I-765 must be filed with a copy of the self-petitioner's Form I-360 approval notice

Adjustment to Permanent Resident Status: Self-petitioners who qualify as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21) do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available. They may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with their local USCIS office. Self-petitioners who require a visa number to adjust must wait for a visa number to be available before filing the Form I-485. The wait for visa numbers can be anywhere from 2-10 years

Note: Some self-petitioners with an approved Form I-360 will be required either to apply for Adjustment of Status under section 245(i) (which requires payment of a penalty fee), or to apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consular post abroad.

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