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Green Card Basics: What You Need to Know

Applying for Green Cards

Foreign people granted legal permanent resident status in the United States reap several advantages. Such individuals are granted the freedom to enter, exit, work, and reside in the United States for the rest of their lives if they so choose (and provided they don’t take any actions that might render them subject to deportation).

They typically use a “green card” to confirm their immigration status. If everything goes according to plan and they master English, they will eventually be eligible to petition for naturalized citizenship, the highest status offered by U.S. immigration law.

This article will discuss the following topics to help you understand Green Cards:

  • What is Green Card?
  • Who is Eligible to Apply for Green Card?
  • How Can I Apply for a Green Card?

What is a Green Card?

what is a green card?

Form I-551, also known as the Lawful Permanent Resident Card, is the official name of the US Green Card. Anyone who obtains a highly competitive US immigrant visa – through application procedures – is given unrestricted authorization to work and dwell in the United States of America.

The Green Card is the only viable route to immigrate to the US, unlike other US visas. This is because a lawful permanent residence is valid for life.

Temporary work visas allow you to stay and work in the US for a limited amount of time, but they also come with a permanent risk: your visa’s expiration date.

Advantages of Green Card

The Green Card is the only long-term method of immigration to the U.S., unlike other US visas. A Lawful Permanent Residence is valid for life. While temporary work visas allow you to stay and work in the US for a limited period of time, they also come with a permanent risk when they expire. Here are some of the advantages of earning a Green Card:

  • Unrestricted right to stay in the U.S.
  • Unlimited work permit
  • Unrestricted and simple entry and exit
  • Eligibility for Medicare benefits and other government assistance after five years of bearing a Green Card
  • Opportunity to enroll risk-free and for up to 80% less than it would have cost without a Green Card in U.S. universities
  • Potential chance for student federal loans
  • Security during a crisis: Travel embargoes typically have no impact on Green Card holders
  • Simple process for obtaining commercial and business permits
  • The spouse and unmarried children under 21 who are family members are also immediately eligible for a Green Card
  • It is possible to apply for US citizenship three or five years after receiving a Green Card

Who is Eligible to Apply for Green Card?

Make sure you fall into one of the following specific categories before considering applying for U.S. permanent residence. Here is a brief summary of the most popular green card categories and the number of worldwide applicants for each.

  • Immediate Family of American Citizens. Close relatives are at the top of the list when it comes to being eligible for and swiftly acquiring U.S. green cards.
  • Other Family Members of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents. Certain close family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents are also eligible for U.S. green cards—but typically not right away. They fall into the “preference categories” listed below, meaning that only a certain number of them will receive green cards each year.
  • Preferred Workers and Employees, Mostly With Job Offers From American Businesses. Each year, 140,000 green cards are made available to individuals whose work abilities are in demand in the American market. A work offer from a U.S. firm is typically also necessary. Additionally, the American business must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the American government that it has performed thorough hiring for the position, held interviews, and has not located any willing, competent, or qualified Americans to hire in place of the immigrant.
  • Diversity Green Card lottery every year. People from the nations that have recently sent the fewest immigrants to the United States are eligible for a fixed number of green cards.

How Can I Apply for a Green Card?

If you want to live in America, here are some of the questions you can ask yourself:

  • Do I have family living here in America?
  • Do I possess unique talents that would be valuable to an American employer?
  • Do I meet the prerequisites to participate in the Green Card Lottery?

File a family-based Green Card application

Green Cards are a great way for families to reunite because most other scenarios (such as siblings applying for Green Cards) have lengthy waiting periods. This is why spouses and children of US citizens can benefit most from these privileges.

In theory, there are no waiting periods if you are a spouse, an unmarried child under the age of 21, or the parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old. These are the so-called “Immediate” categories. But in reality, it will take five to eighteen months for your application to be processed before you have your Green Card (or 3 – 12 months in the case of children).

Married children and siblings of a US citizen (who is 21 or older), as well as unmarried children over the age of 21, are also eligible to apply for a Green Card, but they must be prepared for substantially lengthier waiting periods.

Apply for a Green Card through a U.S. employer

Getting a Green Card through your place of employment is challenging and somewhat uncommon because of the severe burden of proof and expensive fees for U.S. firms. Those who still intend to apply for an employment-based Green Card must pick one of the following five categories:

  • EB-1A: Extraordinary Ability
  • EB-1B: Outstanding Professors and Researchers, Managers and Executives 
  • EB-2: Advanced Degree, Exceptional Ability 
  • EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, Other Workers 
  • EB-4: Special Immigrants and Religious Workers 
  • EB-5: Investors

Apply for a Green Card based on investments

It is feasible to obtain a Green Card by making a sizable financial investment in a U.S. business. In remote or underdeveloped areas, $900,000 is the required minimum amount. In any other situation, $ 1.8 million is needed.

The EB-5 visa that was granted here is comparable to a Green Card on hold. If all conditions are satisfied, the residency status is changed upon application after two years, at which point the investor becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident.

Winning the Green Card Lottery and obtaining a Green Card

The quickest route for most people to obtain a green card is through the Green Card Lottery, commonly known as the Diversity Visa Lottery. The lottery attracts 55,000 participants annually worldwide, thanks to its meager entry requirements.

Apply for a Green Card Today and Live Your American Dream!

Determined to live your U.S. dreams but unsure where to start? Schedule a call with a reliable immigration lawyer now and speed up the process compared to when you try to DIY your way to the U.S.! A competent immigration lawyer knows the ins and outs of the application process and the system. While hiring a lawyer to work with might cost money, it is a great investment to start with that will definitely pay off! Call us today to learn how you can get started with your Green Card application.



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