Are you looking to secure a U.S. driver’s license? You’re not alone. Many noncitizens would like the ability to drive. One of the many benefits of obtaining a green card is the ability to apply for a driver’s license. To be able to independently explore the roads, though, you first need your green card.
Part 1: Obtaining a Green Card:
1. Eligibility: The first step towards obtaining a green card is assessing your eligibility. There are several avenues through which you can qualify, such as family sponsorship or employment-based sponsorship.
2. Category: Once you determine your eligibility, identify the specific green card category that aligns with your circumstances. Each category has its own requirements and procedures.
3. Immigrant Petition: Once you’ve identified the relevant green card category, you will need to file an immigrant petition. This petition serves as the initial step in the application process and establishes your eligibility for U.S. permanent residence. Depending on the category, the petition may be filed by a family member, employer, or even yourself.
4. Priority Dates: In some cases, there may be a waiting period for certain visa categories due to visa number limitations. The Department of State releases a monthly Visa Bulletin that indicates the availability of immigrant visas based on priority dates.
5. Forms: Once your priority date is current, you can begin completing the necessary forms. The primary form is the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485). This form collects extensive information about your background, immigration history, and eligibility.
6. Documentation: Supporting documentation is crucial for this application. Examples of documents include birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, employment records, financial information, and police clearance certificates.
7. Biometrics Appointment: As part of the application process, you will likely be required to attend a biometrics appointment. During this appointment, your fingerprints, photograph, and signature will be collected for background checks and identification purposes.
8. Interview: In many cases, applicants are required to attend an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer. The interview allows the officer to verify the authenticity of your application and assess your eligibility.
9. Decision: Following the interview, you will receive a decision. If approved, congratulations! You will be issued a green card, granting you lawful permanent residency. If denied, you may have the option to appeal the decision or explore alternative avenues to pursue your immigration goals.
Part 2. Obtaining a Driver’s License:
Along with the benefits of living and working permanent in the U.S., becoming a lawful permanent resident gives you the ability to apply for your driver’s license.
To apply, visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website. The specific documentation required can vary from state to state, so make sure to research your specific state’s requirements.