The green card is the official permit, granted by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to immigrants for living and working in US permanently. The Green card or United States Permanent Resident Card is a legal authorization status that shows that the immigrant is allowed the same status and rights as the natural-born US citizens. However, the immigrant retains the citizenship of the home country as a green card holder.
The green card is granted for a period of 10 years and can be renewed by submitting an application for permanent resident card renewal. Though there are different methods to become eligible for the green card, most preferred ones include by investments in US business, employment related immigration, sponsored immigration by family ties, as a refugee and attaining the green card through the Diversity Lottery Program.
Before you put in the application for green card, you need to be sure that you meet the eligibility criteria. Though there are different procedures for application, it depends upon your immigration status when you apply for the permanent resident card. However, the common criteria for being eligible for it includes:
• You have to qualify under Immigration and Nationality Act categories
• If you are seeking the permanent resident card through employment, the application for it has to be submitted by the employer.
• You are required to prove your eligibility for the green card for immigrating to US
• For immediate family members of the US citizen, visa is easily available but for others having an immigrant visa depends upon the home country of the immigrant and the visa category.
Additionally, as an immigrant, you will be needed to apply at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services for a change in your visa status to permanent resident status. The process is two-fold. Under the Adjustment of Status, the immigrant is currently in US and the Immigration and Nationality Act changes the status from immigrant to permanent resident after the checks are completed. After this step is completed, you are not eligible to leave US but under exceptional conditions, you are allowed on special travel permit issued directly issued by USCIS. You are granted the legal authorization to work in US on the Employment Authorization Documents and a permanent resident card is sent after the necessary documents, interviews and security clearance is given.
But if you are not living in US, but want to immigrate permanently, you can apply at the US consulate for an immigration visa. After approvals and numerous checks, you will be issued the immigrant visa and once you enter US as an immigrant, the permanent resident card would be issued later.
Though the process seems simple, there are numerous legalities that need to be met before you can put in your application for the green card. In addition, you can seek the services of an immigration lawyer for processing, documentation and advice for the green card process. Most immigration lawyers have the latest information and understand the legal loopholes that can be an obstacle in getting the permanent resident card. By seeking their advisory and legal services, you can be sure that your application and documentation is completed as needed.