When immigrating, many ask what is a Green Card in USA? it is formally known as the Lawful Permanent Resident Card. Green Card is a legal document that endorses the holder’s permanent residency in the United States.
This document is also referred to as Form I-551. It permits its holder to live, work, and study within the U.S. borders indefinitely. This post on I-485 processing time will be useful when it comes time to apply for your Green Card.
While this article about I-90 processing time will be useful when time to file for a replacement.
The green card, despite its name, does not offer American citizenship, but it is a crucial step towards obtaining citizenship.
What Makes A Green Card Different From Citizenship?
The distinction between a green card and U.S. citizenship lies in the privileges and obligations they each entail. A green card enables a foreign national to work and reside lawfully in the United States.
A Permanent Resident Card does not grant the right to vote in federal elections. That is a privilege reserved exclusively for U.S. citizens. Nevertheless, green card holders can vote in certain local and state elections that do not necessitate U.S. citizenship.
Variety of Green Cards
There are multiple categories of green cards, each tailored to different individual circumstances and requirements. These categories include:
- Family-based Green Cards: This type of green card is available to immediate family members of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). Immediate relatives include spouses, parents, siblings, and unmarried children under the age of 21. Widows and widowers of U.S. citizens who were married to the citizen at the time of their demise are also eligible under this category.
- Employment-based Green Cards: These green cards are intended for individuals who possess exceptional talents in arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics. They also cater to outstanding professors, researchers, multinational executives, and managers. Essentially, this category targets individuals capable of making significant contributions to the U.S. economy and workforce.
- Humanitarian Green Cards: These green cards are designed for individuals who need protection from danger or persecution in their home countries. This category includes refugees, asylees, and victims of abuse, crime, or human trafficking.
- Diversity Lottery Green Cards: Also known as the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program,” this initiative randomly selects up to 50,000 individuals annually from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S.
- Longtime Resident Green Cards: For individuals who have resided in the U.S. since January 1, 1972, whether legally or illegally, they can apply for a green card through a special process known as “registry.”
- Other Types of Green Cards: There are also special categories of green cards for specific groups, such as religious workers, Cuban citizens, American Indians born in Canada, and Iraq and Afghanistan nationals who have served the U.S. government in specific capacities.
Securing A Green Card: The Process
Obtaining a green card entails a multi-step process, which can vary depending on the type of green card you are applying for. Generally, the process involves the following steps:
- Filing of a Petition: The initial step typically involves a U.S. citizen or LPR (referred to as the “sponsor”) filing a petition on behalf of the prospective green card holder (the “beneficiary”). This step is standard for family-based and employment-based green card applications.
- Submission of Application: After USCIS approves the petition, the beneficiary can submit their green card application. This process differs based on whether the beneficiary is already in the U.S. or resides abroad.
- Biometrics Appointment: Following the submission of the application, USCIS will schedule a biometrics appointment. During this appointment, the beneficiary’s fingerprints, photograph, and signature are collected.
- Green Card Interview: The beneficiary is then called for a green card interview. The aim of this interview is to verify the information provided in the application and to assess the beneficiary’s eligibility for the green card.
- Decision on Application: After the interview, USCIS will either approve or deny the green card application. The beneficiary will receive this decision either at the interview or shortly afterward.
The green card application process can be complex and time-consuming. This with processing times varying significantly based on the type of green card and the beneficiary’s circumstances. Therefore, it is essential to understand the requirements. That and and procedures associated with the specific type of green card you are seeking.
Green Card: A Doorway to the USA
A green card serves as a passport to a life of freedom, opportunities, and security in the United States. Despite the rigorous application process, the numerous benefits that come with possessing a green card make it a worthy pursuit.
Whether you’re planning to apply for a green card through family, employment or the diversity lottery. That or on humanitarian grounds, understanding what is a green card in USA is important. How the application process works is the first step towards achieving your American dream.