Many individuals aspire to become American citizens, longing for a green card that grants them permanent residency and the associated benefits. However, the process of obtaining this highly sought-after permanent residency is far from easy. In an article by Darrell M. West, he sheds light on the rigorous nature of studying for a green card, emphasizing its costliness and lengthy procedures, which may even require individuals to take out loans.


According to West, acquiring a green card and becoming an American citizen comes with a hefty price tag. Since the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services relies solely on applicant fees rather than federal tax dollars, it suffers from insufficient funding and staff. Consequently, applicants must be prepared to bear significant financial burdens. Every fingerprinting incurs a charge, and any mistakes made in filing forms necessitate starting the entire process anew, resulting in additional expenses. The high costs associated with the immigration process seem to indicate that the United States prefers immigrants who can afford the fees, potentially excluding those who cannot. Despite the rhetoric of the Statue of Liberty calling for “huddled masses,” the process is undeniably expensive.


When West’s German wife applied for a green card, she had to relinquish her entitlement to basic government services. This means that as long as her husband possesses sufficient assets to support her, she is ineligible for public assistance. Ton this pagefore, West had to provide detailed information about his income, savings, personal property, stocks, bonds, and life insurance to demonstrate that his income is at least 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, ensuring that his wife would not become a burden on the United States. Unfortunately, ordinary immigrants may find it challenging to afford the application fees for a green card. Moreover, the process involves extensive paperwork and a complex bureaucratic system, potentially overwhelming applicants with multiple applications, fees, documentation, interviews, and visits to immigration offices.


However, the difficulties mentioned above are merely the tip of the iceberg. The immigration office, despite being in a country known for embracing the digital revolution, operates on a paper-based system, requiring extensive hours spent on photocopying relevant documents. In addition to financial costs, studying for a green card is a significant investment of time. Furthermore, electronic submission of materials to immigration authorities is not possible, necessitating travel expenses and increasing the risk of losing important documents, which could further delay the process. Most communications must be conducted in person, such as visiting the post office to mail physical papers. The United States’ immigration process appears to be stuck in a 19th-century procedure in the 21st century.


If the process is taking an extended period and you are unable to obtain updates through the hotline service, visiting the immigration website is recommended. Utilize the convenience of the internet to check the status of your application online. Requesting an in-person meeting can also be done through the website to personally discuss your application with an immigration representative. Due to the substantial volume of letters and emails received by immigration offices daily, responses are often delayed or nonexistent. Securing an appointment requires patience and time, but it is possible. Upon attending the appointment, you may discover that your application has already been approved, making all the perseverance worthwhile. Obtaining American citizenship demonstrates that you have successfully overcome the rigorous and challenging bureaucracy of the United States, showcasing your exceptional patience and determination to achieve what you want and deserve.