The final step of the green card process is issuing the Alien Registration Receipt Card. This Permanent Residency can be obtained through Family Sponsorship, Labor Certification, Outstanding Research/Professor through employer in the U.S., by National Interest Waiver or Alien of Extraordinary Ability or the Green Card Lottery (Diversity Visa). With a Green Card, the applicant can work legally in the U.S. and it is proof of lawful residence within the U.S.
To obtain a permanent residency, one can either file for adjustment of status (AOS) in the U.S. through the USCIS, or file for an immigrant visa through Consular Processing (CP) at a U.S. Department of State (DOS) Consulate or Embassy abroad.
When the Form I-l40 employment-based immigrant visa petition is submitted to the USCIS Service Center, the petitioner must indicate whether the beneficiary will apply for consular processing at an American Consulate overseas for an immigrant visa or will apply for adjustment of status (AOS or I-485) to permanent residence with the USCIS. If I-485 is selected, the beneficiary of the I-140 has the option of concurrent filing of the I-140 and I-485. Concurrent filing can involve simultaneous filing of the I-140 and the I-485, or initial filing of the I-140, then filing of the I-485 while the I-140 is still pending.
In cases of I-140 filings where the beneficiary does not choose concurrent filing, we would request that USCIS send notice of the approval to the National Visa Center (NVC): this allows the beneficiary to choose whether to apply for the AOS or consular processing after the I-140 has been approved.
An immigrant visa number must be immediately available to apply for adjustment of status, or consular processing. Persons who have engaged in unauthorized employment or otherwise violated their nonimmigrant status may not be eligible. Similarly, persons who are subject to the two-year home residence requirement are not eligible unless this requirement has been waived and the waiver obligation has been fulfilled. (see Immigration FAQ for concurrent filing of I-140/485)