Looking to live and work permanently in the United States?

A green card, officially known as a United States Permanent Resident Card, is a document that provides evidence of an individual’s lawful permanent residency in the United States. Holding a green card allows an individual to live and work in the U.S. permanently.

Green Card Process

Legal Permanent Residency

  • A green card holder is a legal permanent resident of the United States. This status allows the individual to reside and work in the U.S. indefinitely.


Issued by USCIS

  • The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is responsible for issuing green cards.


Various Categories

  • Green cards can be obtained through various immigration categories, including family-sponsored immigration, employment-based immigration, refugee or asylee status, the Diversity Visa Program, and other special programs.


Family Sponsored Green Cards

  • Family-sponsored green cards are obtained through family relationships with U.S. citizens or permanent residents. This includes spouses, parents, children, and siblings.


Employment-Based Green Cards

  • Employment-based green cards are obtained through employment sponsorship. Different preference categories exist based on the type of employment and the individual’s qualifications.


Conditional Permanent Residency

  • In some cases, individuals initially receive a conditional green card. For example, conditional permanent residency is granted to individuals who obtain a green card through marriage. Conditions must be removed within a specified period.

Renewal and Replacement

  • Green cards typically have a validity period of 10 years. Green card holders are required to renew their cards before they expire. Lost, stolen, or damaged green cards can be replaced.

Rights and Responsibilities

  • Green card holders have the right to live and work anywhere in the U.S. They are also eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship after meeting certain residency requirements. Green card holders must obey U.S. laws and pay taxes.

Paths to Citizenship

  • While holding a green card, individuals can pursue a path to U.S. citizenship by meeting eligibility requirements and applying for naturalization.

    Traveling with a Green Card

    • Green card holders are generally free to travel in and out of the United States. However, extended periods of travel or residing abroad may impact the determination of continuous residency.


    What are the steps for a Green Card?

    1. File Immigrant Petition
    Submit an immigrant petition (e.g., Form I-130 or I-140) to USCIS.

    2. Wait for USCIS Decision:
    USCIS reviews the petition; if approved, it moves to the National Visa Center (NVC) or stays with USCIS for adjustment of status.

    3. Wait for Visa Availability (if applicable)
    For family-sponsored or employment-based green cards, wait for a visa to become available, as indicated by the Visa Bulletin.

    4. Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status:
    Apply for an immigrant visa through consular processing or adjust status within the U.S. by filing Form I-485.

    5. Biometrics Appointment
    Attend a biometrics appointment for fingerprinting and identity verification.

    6 USCIS Interview and Decision
    Attend an interview with USCIS if required; the interview assesses the application’s validity and eligibility for a green card. USCIS makes a decision, and if approved, the individual receives a green card.

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