Lessons Learned on the Journey to Obtaining a Green Card

GREEN CARD! WHAT A BOLD JOURNEY! 😭

Wouldn’t be me without sharing some overall learnings so that those coming beside and behind me can attain faster than I did! (The goal is not to struggle!!)

Overall learnings:

  • If you have a fulltime offer before graduation. Apply for the OPT when that 90 days before grad’ hits. I didn’t. I waited till March (I was meant to start in July, I wanted to time it as close to getting it in July as possible) I didn’t foresee processing delays (took them 120+ days) and had to get my start date pushed back multiple times.

  • H1B visa is a lottery. Even if you find a company to sponsor you, you may not get selected. Please make sure you find a company that has a contingency (i.e. they can keep you employed and send you to one of their international offices with a plan to bring you back on H1B (they keep entering you) or L1 (after 12-18months outside the US)). I did end up getting the H1B. This was a long process and I ended up getting RFE’d twice. Which is unheard of/rare!

  • Tip for RFE (request for evidence, when USCIS needs more info to make a decision on your case): do your best to give your lawyers more info than what they ask. Example: they ask what courses you did in university give everything (course #, Professor, what the course entailed, what you learned and how it applies to your day job).

  • You can also look into O visas and Green Card Diversity Lottery these are also options. (I’m not well versed here, please do research!)

  • My geen card process went: labor market test > PERM (these took a little over one year combined) > [I-140> I-131 + I-765> I-485 + I-485 SuppJ (Employment based, so the company filed for me).

  • Submitted I-140 and all those others at once! Make sure you also submit your medicals (I-693) which I did and it made the process even more seamless May seem like a hassle up front, but you’re better for it!) If you don’t submit medicals with your case, they most likely will RFE (request for evidence) and this will delay your case.

TBH, I feel like God was like “girl, you’ve fought this process enough, here’s an easier one😅” because my greencard process was the least stressful (and that’s saying a lot if you know anything about this process!).

Major shoutout to Microsoft CELA and their third party legal teams on my case. This was a full proof case from I-140 to I-485 approval this case was 65 days which is extremely fast (processing times showed 14.5 months). I thank God!


Story told by Akosua Boadi-Agyemang

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