A green card, officially called a permanent resident card, allows the holder to live and work permanently in the United States.
Learn about the many different strategies available to obtain a green card in the U.S., including winning your way through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as the Green Card Program.
Green Card vs US Citizenship
A green card allows the holder to live and work permanently in the United States without being subject to immigration restrictions. While permanent residence in the United States means that the person has the right to remain in the United States indefinitely, it does not confer U.S. citizenship.
Green card holders have many of the rights of US citizens but do not have the right to vote. Green cards are not transferable and do not automatically extend to children born outside the U.S. You also cannot hold a U.S. passport and must renew a green card every 10 years.
How to get green card in USA
To live permanently in the United States as a noncitizen, you must have a green card that can be obtained in a few different ways, including:
Green Card Lottery
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A green card application must be completed and submitted to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). When USCIS signs your application, you will be called for an interview at the embassy or consulate. Your eligibility for an immigrant visa will be determined by the consular officer during this interview.
What are the benefits of having a green card
People holding green card don’t have any issue in living and working in the US legally and they are protected by U.S. immigration law. There are many benefits of having a US green card, like eligibility for particular benefits by the government and protection from the deportation. Green card holders also have the option to apply for US citizenship after living in the country for a certain period of time.
What are the different ways to get a green card in USA
The application process may be different for each of the methods described below, but they all require the submission of different forms and supporting documents. In some cases, such as with the diversity visa program, there is also an interview process.
1. Green Card by Investment
Foreign nationals can obtain an investment-based green card if they have a job offer from a US employer. The employer must demonstrate that the foreign national’s skills are needed in the United States and will be paid a wage that is at least the prevailing wage for their occupation in the area of desired employment.
The EB-5 visa is for investors who want to live and work permanently in the United States after investing in a new business entity. The amount does not have to be in one investment but can be spread between multiple investments.
An investment must be considered ‘genuine’ – meaning the investment must be in cash and in something, not shares in a limited liability company. Capital requirements for a green card under the investment-based program have increased from $800,000 to $1,050,000 since 2022.
2. Green card by marriage
Green cards by marriage are some of the most scrutinized applications, which is why it’s so important to get everything right. The process begins with a U.S. citizen filing a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition establishes a qualifying relationship between you and your spouse, while also requesting that an immigrant visa is being reserved for your spouse by the U.S. government.
Green cards based on marriage are privileged in that the government does not impose a numerical limit on the number of relatives who can receive green cards each year.
3. Company Transfer (CT) Green Card
The intra company transfer L-1 visa enables foreign companies to transfer certain employees, executives, or managers to the United States as long as their employment continues at an affiliated branch. If the branch does not exist, it must be created.
Other requirements are that the business has been doing business in the US for at least one year. This strategy is best for getting a green card in the US, as there is no need for labor certification.
4. Get a green card by studying
F-1 visas are issued to international students studying in the United States.One of the biggest disadvantages of a study-based green card is that it is only valid while the student is enrolled in school.It is required that students prove that they will return home after completing their qualifications as part of the application process.
When switching from an F-1 visa to a green card, many USA students wonder how they can extend their stay in the country.Bachelor’s and master’s degree students are eligible for Optional Practical Training work permits.After the year of training is complete, students can request their employer apply for an H1B work visa and a labor certification from the Department of Labor, which confirms no other candidate is qualified or willing to fill the position.