What is a Green Card?

Do you daydream about maximizing your personal and professional potential in the land of the free and home of the brave? Earning a green card could be your one-way ticket to achieving your very own American Dream. Read on to learn more about the green card, its privileges and restrictions, as well as a brief background on the Green Card Lottery.

 

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  Sample green card 

 

What is a green card?

  • A green card grants foreigners the right to legally live and work in the United States. Formally called a United States Permanent Resident Card (USCIS Form I-551), the term ‘green card’ was colloquially given due to the color of the document, which actually ceased to be green from 1964-2010.
  • Green card holders are designated as lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and they may use this status as a springboard from which they can apply for American citizenship. A number of conditions must be consistently met in order to maintain permanent resident status, and the document must accompany its possessor at all times.

 

What are the benefits of having a green card?

  • The United States of America serves as a global beacon of hope, freedom, and opportunity. For centuries, people near and far have aspired to live in the United States for a multitude of reasons, including but certainly not limited to educational opportunities, religious freedom, and economic prosperity.
  • Green cards allow internationals the legal right to take advantage of the many privileges that American democracy has to offer.

 

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FDR Memorial Wall

What are the differences in status between a United States citizen and a lawful permanent resident?

  • While lawful permanent residents are allowed to live and work freely in the United States, they have several limitations as compared to American citizens.
  • LPRs are not allowed to vote in local, state, and national elections. International travel restrictions (i.e. time spent outside of the United States) also apply.
  • LPRs must keep the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated on their contact details and other personal information. Failure to do so, as well as committing unlawful acts such as espionage and terrorism, may result in the loss of a green card and deportation back to the person’s native country.

 

What is the Green Card Lottery?

  • The Green Card Lottery, also known as the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery, is an annual drawing that allows citizens of certain countries to apply for and hopefully win green cards for themselves and their family members. Overseen by the US Department of State, only citizens of countries that currently have low rates of natural immigration to the US are eligible to apply (which are subject to change each year).
  • Out of the millions of people who participate in the Green Card Lottery each year, only 55,000 are deemed winners.
  • The Lottery was created with the inception of the Immigration Act of 1990—with the first drawing taking place in 1995—in order to promote diversity within the American population via federally regulated immigration.

 

Now that you know all about the American green card, allow the Global USA Green Card Organization to help you take the necessary steps to apply for the Lottery. Get in touch with GUSGC’s Immigration Specialists today to guide you through the process!

 

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How to Get a Green Card

Perhaps you’ve been thinking up your American Dream for years, or maybe you’ve only recently learned about the myriad opportunities that the green card can possibly provide for you. Obtaining a green card is a complex process that involves much foresight, proper planning, and above all, patience. This post will address the major different ways* in which you can apply for the green card and attain lawful permanent residency in the United States.

 

Obtaining a green card through family

One of the most common ways to get a green card is through the sponsorship of a family member who is eitherwe a US citizen or a green card holder himself/herself.

  • Only the following family members are permitted to apply for a green card with the sponsorship of a US citizen:
    • legal spouses
    • unmarried children under the age of 21
    • parents of citizen petitioners over the age of 21
  • Family members of US citizens who fit within the following categories are also permitted to apply for the green card:
    • unmarried children 21 or older
    • married children of any age
    • immediate siblings 21 or older
  • Only the following family members are permitted to apply for a green card with the sponsorship of a green card holder:
    • legal spouses
    • unmarried children
  • Individuals within the following special categories are also permitted to apply to the green card:
    • victims of domestic abuse (children, spouses, parents) who have an immediate family member who is a US citizen/green card holder
    • widow(er)s of US citizens
    • fiancé(e)s and minor children of US citizens/green card holders – known as K Nonimmigrants
    • spouses or children of lawful permanent residents – known as V Nonimmigrants
    • children of foreign diplomats in the US

Obtaining a green card through a job

Green card applicants can attempt to obtain a green card by means of their professional background and/or business dealings.

  • Job offer: An employer can petition for an employee to get a green card by obtaining a labor certification and then filing Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
  • American investments: Foreign investors, entrepreneurs, and creators of American jobs (often with sizable assets in the United States) may apply for the green card.
  • Self-petition: Skilled and educated “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” who can prove to considerably contribute to the American workforce are permitted to apply for the green card, without the need of a labor certification.
  • Special jobs: Those amongst the following list of professionals are permitted to apply for the green card with Form I-360, the Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant:
    • Afghan & Iraqi translators
    • Broadcast journalists
    • Employees of international organizations
    • Iraqis who have aided the US government
    • Civilian NATO employees (past and present) and their spouses, unmarried children, and widow(er)s – known as NATO-6 nonimmigrants
    • Employees of the Panama Canal
    • Physicians (apply under the Physician National Interest Waiver)
    • Religious workers

 

Obtaining a green card through refugee/asylum status

  • A foreign individual admitted to the US as (a) a refugee, (b) an asylee, or (c) a qualifying family member of an individual granted asylum may apply for a green card one year after entering the US/being granted asylum.
  • Refugees are required to apply for lawful permanent residence, while asylees are not (but are still eligible to do so).

 

Obtaining a green card through the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery program

  • The DV Lottery takes place only once annually, with application submission in October and the unveiling of results in May/June of the following year. Millions of hopefuls apply for the Lottery each year, with only 55,000 lucky winners.
  • The US Department of State’s online application has rigid instructions and guidelines, and the time window for input lasts just a mere 30 minutes. Many applicants are ruled out on account of improper formatting, missing information, and input oversight. In fact, up to 90% of GUSGC’s clients submit initially incorrect uploads that would disqualify them for eligibility.
  • The Global USA Green Card Organization takes pride in providing its clients with a user-friendly web application, outstanding customer service, and conducting business guided by complete transparency. While we remind potential clients that they can apply for free on the Department of State site on their own, GUSGC guarantees successful participation in the Lottery via focused attention and laser-sharp precision by our experienced Immigration Experts.

 

Check out our application page today to determine if you can apply for the Green Card Lottery!
*Please note that this article addresses only the most popular forms of securing a green card. For a comprehensive list of special programs aimed for niche categories, click here.

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