Welcome to Green Cards 101. Consider this a FAQ sheet on the main points you want to know and might have been afraid to ask about green cards. |
What Is A Green Card?
A Green Card is what gives someone foreign to the United States the right to permanently live and work in the U.S. It is a tangible, government-issued identification card, which provides verification of abiding resident status in the U.S.
Do They Last Forever?
No, although card holders are considered to be permanent residents, they are not forever. It is very important to know that Green Cards must be renewed every 10 years. Another factor pertaining to the length of green cards is that they can be withdrawn. If a Green Card holder commits a serious crime, provides fraudulent or conceals important information on their application, or has left the U.S. for more than 180 days in a 12-month period, they are at risk of losing their card.
How Do I Get A Green Card?
There are a few ways that one can go about getting a Green Card:
1.) A family-based petition: The most common and readily accessible way to attain a green card is if you are considered an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen. You fall under this category if you are a parent; spouse; or an unmarried child, under 21, of U.S. citizens. It is important to note that citizens must be of the legal age of 21 years or older to apply for their parents to receive Green Cards. There is also a special category that deems widows of U.S. citizens and children born to foreign diplomats in the United States eligible to attain a Green Card.
2.) Employment: The U.S provides many foreign and native born citizens with job opportunities every year. The Immigration Policy Institute accounted immigrants for 16 percent (25.5 million) of the 155.8 million workers engaged in the U.S. civilian labor force in 2010. Because of the large amount of immigrants applying for employment-based visas, the government composed four main subgroups in the employment-based green card category: green card through a job offer, green card through investment, green card through self petition and green card through special job categories. An employer must file an I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker with the Department of Labor, to authorize that no certified U.S. workers that are willing and able to do the job that the alien is intended to perform. In this petition, the employer must include the following:
proof of the position being advertised the required job skills the prevailing wage for the job and the employer’s ability to pay the worker. Only in a few unique circumstances an alien may self-apply for a green card through employment. These include:
Professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability Priority workers of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics Skilled or professional workers Special immigrants of religious or government based work. 3.) Investment Based: TheEB-5 is an investment-based green card that requires an alien to invest in a new commercial enterprise that would benefit our economy and add to previously existing business. Several investors may be allowed to join together in the process of investing in a U.S business and attaining green cards. However, each individual must follow the guidelines of investing at least $1,000,000 in high employment areas and $500,000 in targeted employment areas. Individuals must also create at the least 10 new jobs for legal residents within the first two years. The capital investment is not limited consist of cash; it also includes equipment, inventory and other tangible property, and easily convertible cash equivalents.
4.) Asylum: This is a unique form of legal protection that allows for foreign nationals to stay in the U.S. if they are afraid to return to their home country. Asylum is sometimes granted to individuals who feel that returning to their home country may cause persecution or the suspicion of persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. Foreigners from any country are able to apply for Asylum. Because this is an important form of legal protection, there are no quotas on the number of individuals who may be granted asylum each year.
5.) Lottery: The green card lottery has aimed to diversify the stream of immigrants that are entering the U.S. This program randomly selects 50,000 permanent residents from applicants all over the world. The applicants must meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
About the Author:
Henry Lim, an Orlando Immigration Attorney, can help you with all of your USA immigration and citizenship law questions regarding a work visa, family based immigration, US student visa, visa lottery, visitor visa, E-2 Visa & E-1 Visa, L-1 Visa, H1B Visa, F-1 Student Visa, and more. Contact Henry Lim and Associates, the professional immigration law firm in Orlando, Florida at (407) 897-8870 to schedule an appointment. Proudly serving Orlando, Kissimmee, Volusia County, Brevard County, and all of Central Florida.
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