What Is A US Green Card? Complete Process To Achieve Permanent Residency In The US

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HomeUS Visa & ImmigrationWhat Is A US Green Card? Complete Process To Achieve Permanent Residency In The US

What Is A Green Card

A Green Card, or Permanent Resident Card, is a permanent visa for the USA that is renewable. A green card gives you the status of a permanent resident along with legal rights to work in the USA. Once you have a green card, you may apply for US citizenship after a few years of staying in the USA. The green card does not affect your current citizenship status. Typically, a green card is issued for 10 years, but it can be renewed by submitting a  green card renewal  application.

What are the benefits of being a Green Card holder?

A green card gives you permanent US resident status, which allows you to:

  • Reside in the US
  • Buy your own house or property in the US
  • Travel between the US and your country or origin without a visitor/business visa
  • Seek employment and work in the US without any other visa or work authorization
  • Register your own company and run your own business in the US
  • Study in the US
  • Sponsor family members for US immigrant visas
  • Apply for US citizenship after 5 years of residing in the US

Best Tool During The Green Card Process: Visa Bulletin – What It Is & How To Navigate It?

Your US green card also gives you the same rights as an American citizen, including all protection from the US Federal, State, and Local laws on par with any US citizen, while at the same time allowing you to also retain your citizenship in your native country

Did You Know? Green Card Holders have multiple insurance options? Make sure you know which is the best one for you.

How To Get A US Green Card

Every year the US issues a certain number of green cards under different categories. Depending upon eligibility and qualification, one can apply under one of these individual categories to get a green card that will grant permanent residency in the US to the beneficiary. 

Types Of Green Card

Based on various eligibility criteria, you may apply for one of the following. The process and timelines for each category varies:

Employment-based Green Cards can be divided into EB1, EB2, EB3 Green Card Categories. Green Card through Employer can be attained when a US employer is willing to sponsor your green card. It is a multi-step process and involves an elaborate application filing for a fee.

  • EB-1: employees with extraordinary ability in the science, arts, education, business or athletics, professors, researchers and Ph.D. holders etc. fall under this category.
    It also includes people working in US as managers and executives on international transfer basis (Company transfer L1 holder)
  • EB-2: This includes employees with extra ability in the field of science, arts or business, and advanced degree professionals (PG. degree holder).
  • EB-3: This includes professionals with Bachelor/ Graduate degree, and other skilled workers.

Learn more about each of the employment based green card categories:

Family-Based Green Card (including Marriage Based Green Card)

You can receive a green card if a family member who is a US citizen sponsors your green card. This has to be a close relative and includes spouse, children, parents and siblings only.

Sponsor Eligibility: American National

To be eligible to sponsor a relative to immigrate to the United States you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be a citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States and be able to provide documentation proving your status.
  • You must prove that you can support your relative at 125% above the mandated poverty line. 
  • Prove that the beneficiary will not become a public charge.
  • Proof of the relationships

Applicant Eligibility: Foreign National

To be eligible for lawful permanent residence based on a family relationship you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have a relative who is a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States who can provide documentation proving their status and is willing to sponsor you for lawful permanent residency by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
  • Your relative must prove they can support you by providing documentation that their income is 125% above the mandated poverty line for their family, including you and all other sponsored family members.
  • You can prove that you will not become a public charge and depend on the State for benefits.
  • Prove you share the relationships

Investment Based Green Card

The EB5 Green Card, also known as immigrant investor program, is an employment based green card category that allows foreign investors to obtain permanent residency in the United States.

Process, document requirements and eligibility varies for the EB-5 investment visa and might require n immigration lawyer to assist with.

Green Card Lottery

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as Green Card Lottery, Diversity Visa Lottery, or DV Lottery, is a US Government visa program that allots 55,000 immigrant visas (green cards) to foreign nationals of underrepresented countries each year. It is through the green card lottery that immigrant visas are made available to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

The USA green card lottery program is held by the State Department and is open to all individuals from qualifying countries who meet the diversity visa lottery eligibility requirements. The DV lottery runs each year from October to November, where chosen applicants are randomly selected using a computer-generated system.

Those who are selected in the DV lottery will be given the opportunity to apply for permanent residency (green card).

Green Card through Asylum & Refugee status

People who fear persecution in their home country or are victims of human trafficking, abuse or crime may be eligible to get entry into the US and seek long term shelter.  If proven to be eligible, they will be granted a green card that will have to be renewed periodically.

For FAQs on seeking US asylum, and eligibility with burden of proof, you should contact a US embassy for details.

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