Wednesday, September 28, 2011

USCIS Green Card Approval

I should point out at the start of this post that, as usual, this is an account of my own personal experience, it is not an official guide.  Your experience of getting USCIS green card approval may well be different to mine.  My account does, however, give you a general idea of the sort of things that can happen and where possible, I mention other possibilities that I have read about in my research, which didn’t happen to me personally.

As I mentioned in my post on the biometrics appointment, I didn’t received temporary work and travel permits, despite applying for them – instead I was “fast-tracked” straight to getting my USCIS green card.  “Fast-tracked” is a relative concept in this case, however, as it still took months before my green card was processed.

(Getting the temporary work and travel permits normally isn’t much of an advantage, anyway, as they usually take almost as long to process as the green card for most people in my situation, according to the research that I had done.  So I didn’t feel that I had missed out on anything by not getting them.)

One good thing, however, was that I went straight to the approval letter stage and I didn’t have to attend a USCIS green card interview.  From what I know, the green card interview is no more difficult than the K1 visa interview, but I would still have had the hassle of having to ask my wife to take time off work and drive us up to the USCIS office in a neighbouring city, as we had to do with the biometrics appointment.

Anyway, as I said, I got my green card approval letter, which welcomed me to the USA and explained that I would be receiving my USCIS green card within three weeks (as it happened, the card actually arrived just three days later).  My green card is only valid for two years, however, and I will need to apply for a permanent replacement before it runs out.  (Obtaining the replacement is a relatively cheap and easy process, I believe).

Once I had my green card, I went to my local social security office and applied for a replacement social security card.  This was because my original card was stamped: “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION”.  Now that I had a green card, I was able to swap it for a regular social security card without the stamp on it, free of charge.


  1. hey there,

    you mentioned in your post that "I didn’t received temporary work and travel permits, despite applying for them"

    is this separate from the "Advance Parole" & "Employment Authorization" you filed when you filed for your Green Card? Or is it the same?


    1. Yes, the "Advance Parole" & "Employment Authorization" are the temporary work and travel permits that I was referring to.

      This is the advice that I was given at the time: You might as well apply for the temp travel and temp work permits when you submit for the green card, as it's free - however, they might not arrive any quicker than the green card! In my case, I got the green card first, so the "Advance Parole" & "Employment Authorization" were essentially worthless, as the green card gave me permission to work and travel.

    2. Hey Paul!

      That's great. Thanks for all of the info. It's super helpful. It has given both us a huge boost.