What is a Green Card?
A Green Card is what grants a foreign national to legally remain in the U.S. as a permanent resident. It is officially known as Permanent Resident Card and serves as an identification card indicating permanent resident status of a non-citizen. A green card also grants you the ability to:
- Permission to reside in the United States
- Ability to work in the United States
- Ability to sponsor family members to apply for immigration
- Apply as an in-state candidate for public colleges and universities
- Receive social security benefits if the green card holder has worked at least 10 years in the U.S.
How can I obtain a Green Card?
There are a handful of ways foreign nationals can apply for immigration in order to obtain permanent residence status:
- Immigration through family
- Immigration through employment
- Immigration through Diversity Lottery
- Immigration through refugee or asylum status
- Immigration through business investment
What is the process for obtaining a Green Card?
Although every route depending on whether you are applying for immigration through work, family, or business is different, there is still a general process in becoming a permanent resident.
- A U.S. citizen or entity must file an immigrant petition vouching for your intentions and eligibility in coming to the United States
- If the USCIS approves of the petition, you must file a Green Card application with USCIS or a visa application with the U.S. Department of State
- Attend a biometric appointment at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy to collect fingerprints, photos, and personal information.
- Attend an interview at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy
- Accept either rejection or approval of your permanent residence application.
If you plan on traveling outside of the U.S. while your application for your green card is still processing, please refer to Form I-131, Application for Travel Document to ensure you are able to come back into the country after your travels.