A green card, known officially as a permanent resident card, is an identity document which shows that a person has permanent residency in the United States. Green card holders are formally known as lawful permanent residents.
Definition of the Green Card
The US Green Card is officially called Lawful Permanent Resident Card or Form I-551. Anyone who obtains the highly sought-after US immigrant visa – whether through the Green Card Lottery or one of the alternative application processes – is granted unrestricted work and residence authorization for the United States of America.
When communicating with the issuing authority, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a new Green Card candidate is initially called “Applicant” or “Beneficiary”. Lawful holders of a Green Card are also referred to as “Lawful Permanent Residents” or “LPR”.
After a successful Green Card application process, the Green Card enables USA fans to freely choose their place of work and residence, to enter and leave the country easily, to study in the USA at a much lower cost, and to acquire additional benefits after a few years as a Green Card holder.
However, applying for a Green Card can be complicated and challenging, especially if you don’t really know where to start. The application process involves meeting a considerable amount of requirements to raise an applicant’s chances of getting approved for getting one.
For those looking to apply for a Green Card, it’s best to work with an experienced and reliable immigration lawyer from Flynn Hodkinson and other similar firms within your area. They’ll guide you through the process and ensure the application will go as smoothly as possible.
The History of Green Card
The USA has always been an immigration country par excellence. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, immigration to the United States was still unregulated – America was open to immigrants from anywhere in the world in unlimited numbers.
After the American Civil War, the U.S. Supreme Court introduced the first innovations. Later, the “U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service” (INS for short) was established in 1933.
The foundation for today’s Green Card was laid during World War II: In 1940, the US Congress passed the Alien Registration Act, which established the first concrete rules for immigrating to the United States.
One of the first decisions was to inspect all immigrants entering the United States and issue them an ID card. The document issued was then called “Alien Card” or “Alien Registration Receipt Card” and was actually bright green. This is how the nickname “Green Card” came about.
In 2003, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was renamed “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.” USCIS still issues the Green Cards today.
After the Green Card was produced in changing colors for a few years (first yellow, then pink, then purple-blue), the US government decided in 2010 to go back to a green design.
The advantages of a Green Card
Owning a US Green Card gives its holder nearly all rights equal to those of a US citizen. These include:
- Unlimited residency in the US
- Unlimited work permit in the USA
- Unlimited and easy entry and exit without a visa or ESTA
- Eligibility for Medicare benefits and other government assistance after 5 years as a Green Card holder
- The right to study at a US university without risk and up to 80% cheaper than without a Green Card
- The possibility of federal loans for students
- Crisis security: Green Card holders are usually not affected by travel embargoes.
- Uncomplicated obtaining of business and commercial licenses
- Family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) are automatically eligible for a Green Card as well.
- Application for US citizenship is possible after 3 or 5 years as a Green Card holder.
How do I get a Green Card?
The US Green Card can only be obtained:
1. Through a job in the USA
If you’ve been hired by a US company, your employer may sponsor you for a US Green Card to immigrate there with ease. However, the application can be tough if you don’t have contacts in the United States. It may be best to consult an immigration lawyer or an L1-A Visa Attorney to help you deal with the process. Aside from your employer, they may help you streamline the application process.
2. For a family reunion with US relatives
If you have a family member who is a US citizen, they may sponsor you for a Green Card. However, family sponsorships for Green Card take some time to be processed. Some applicants can attest to this making the process much easier, though. So, it may be worth the wait.
3. By winning the Green Card Lottery
Many people from certain countries may qualify for a Green Card through a lottery. This involves randomly selecting citizens in countries that don’t send a lot of immigrants to the US. Unlike sponsorships, the application process under the Green Card lottery is quick and simple.
4. Through a large investment in a US company
If you have several assets and resources, you may obtain a Green Card by investing in a US company. But since the sponsorship is through investment, you may expect to prepare huge sums as well as proof of your transactions with said company.
For most people, the Green Card Lottery is the only chance to live a carefree life in America, because it is very difficult for foreigners to get a permanent job in the USA.
In the Green Card Lottery, the US authorities raffle 55,000 Green Cards worldwide every year. The chances of winning are extremely good and have even increased due to new passport regulations introduced in 2019.
Unfortunately, many participants are eliminated from the lottery because they do not submit their applications exactly in the specified format. Even the smallest errors will result in disqualification by US authorities.
Another problem is that a disqualified Green Card applicant is not informed by the US government that he or she has been disqualified – let alone why. As a result, many Green Card Lottery participants make the same mistakes year after year and don’t even realize it.
For this reason, it is recommended to consult an expert. With The American Dream’s government licensed immigration consultancy, Green Card applicants are protected from disqualification thanks to the double application review and personalized assistance service.
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Source of this Article: The American Dream