Once we get the all clear on the medical, we have to submit photocopies of our current and past passports to prove we haven't been to Iran or North Korea, our birth certificates and marriage certificate an all sorts of other personal information as well as 12 references from Paul's colleagues saying he will be worthy addition to medical ranks of in the US.
There are 2 options for us getting a green card, "consular" or "adjustment of status". we have elected the latter as it is all done within the US. With "adjustment of status", when our application gets lodged there is a 3-4 month processing period, during which time our visa is suspended and if we leave the US we can't come back. Once it is processed, we have a brief interview at the Immigration office in NY and are then put on a waiting list for allocation, which could take 12 months or longer. During this waiting period you can come and go, but the term the Immigration Dept uses is 'on parole', no kidding. if you go "consular", you stay on your visa till you get the green card but it requires returning to Sydney at very short notice (2 weeks) for a green card interview that is not a foregone conclusion. Our visas are for 2 years and renewable at least once so why bother but Paul needs a green card for his work (to apply for research grants etc). it also makes entering and leaving the US much easier. Lucky Guantamo Bay is now closed!