4 common Green Card online scams to avoid
People are often conned online when seeking information on how to apply for a Green Card to the U.S.
According to the Homeland Security website, a Green Card holder (permanent resident) is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis.
“There is no cost to register for the DV Lottery that is an annual program,” the government says.
Additionally, a person can be granted a permanent resident card through sponsorship by family member or employer in the U.S. or through refugee or asylee status or other humanitarian programs.
Below are the most common scams to be on the lookout for when applying for a Green Card:
1. Job offers
An email from a company (ies) offering a job from overseas or by email, mostly if you haven’t left your country is a scam.
However legit a job may appear, you cannot be allowed to work in United States without possessing a permanent resident card which is the Green Card.
Other documents you must have include an Employment Authorization Document (work permit) or an employment-related visa which allows you to work for a particular employer.
If you get the job offer while in the country (USA) while you are a student, consult with your designated school official before you take on any job.
For instance, if you are about to graduate and are applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT), read the instructions on the ‘Working in the U.S.’ page.
2. Scam websites
When applying for a Green Card online, you may come across some websites claiming to be affiliates with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Always make sure your information is from uscis.gov or is affiliated with uscis.gov by ensuring the website address ends with .gov.
According to the U.S. government, they will never ask you to make any payments for downloading USCIS forms. The forms are free on the website.
If you receive a suspicious email, you are advised to forward it to them at USCIS.Webmaster@usics.dhs.gov.
3. Scams targeting students
If you are applying for a Green Card as an international student wanting to travel to the U.S. for education, make sure you are applying to an accredited college or university.
You should be able to find the school you are looking for at the Council for Higher Education web page. The credentials required include a form I-20 and certificate of eligibility for non immigrant student status.
Thereafter, if you are accepted, a designated school official will either give you: a form I-20 certificate of eligibility for non immigrant (F-1) student status for academic and language students or a form I-20, certificate of eligibility for non immigrant (M-1) student status –for vocational students
Schools that are not accredited cannot sponsor you for an F-1 student visa. Additional information on the Form I-20 is available on studyinthestates.dhs.govor on their website on the students and employment page.
4. Phone or email payments
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will never ask you to transfer money to an individual in-order to get a Green Card.
They do not accept Western Union, Money Gram, PayPal, or gift cards as payment for immigration fees.
Moreover, they will never ask you to pay fees to a person on the phone or by email.
Below is the correct way to apply for a Green Card with Homeland Security noting that: “The steps you must take to apply for a Green Card will vary depending on your individual situation.”
- Someone usually must file an immigrant petition for you (In some cases, you may be eligible to file for yourself).
- After USCIS approves the immigrant petition, and there is a visa available in your category, you file either a Green Card application with USCIS or a visa application with the U.S. Department of State.
- You go to a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photos, and a signature.
- You go to an interview.
- You receive a decision on your application.
You can sign up for a ‘Case Status Online’ account to get automatic updates.