U.S. Immigrant Visas (Green Cards)
A U.S. Green Card, also known as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document issued by the U.S. government that grants a foreign citizen the right to live and work in the United States permanently. The card is usually valid for 3 to 10 years, after which it can be renewed before it must be replaced.
A Green Card holder is also able to access certain social benefits, such as Social Security and Medicare. Furthermore, with a Green Card, one can eventually become a U.S. citizen if they meet the necessary criteria.
How to obtain a U.S. Green Card?
In order to obtain a U.S. Green Card, individuals must typically either have family ties in the United States or demonstrate a high level of skill in a specific occupation such as a skilled worker green card or invest in the U.S. Some individuals may also qualify for a Green Card through programs such as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program or Humanitarian Relief Program such as Asylum, Temporary Protected Status, DACA…etc.
After obtaining a Green Card, one must follow certain conditions to maintain their status, including paying taxes and not committing any serious crimes. Those who do not comply with these conditions can have their residency revoked and can be removed from the United States by way of Deportation or Removal Proceeding. Therefore, it is important to comply with all rules and regulations if one wishes to remain in the United States as a Green Card holder.
What are the benefits of having a U.S. Green Card?
Once an individual has obtained U.S. Green Card status, they are legally entitled to many of the same rights as a natural-born American citizen. These include the right to permanently reside and work in the U.S., access certain government benefits, travel outside of the country and return without having to reapply for a visa, petition for family members to come to the U.S., and become eligible for citizenship after five years of permanent residence (three years if married to a U.S. citizen).
It is important to note that while a U.S. Green Card holders have the right to live and work in the United States, they may not vote in federal elections or take certain government-related jobs. They are also still subject to certain immigration requirements when traveling outside of the country for extended periods of time. Furthermore, any foreign national who has committed serious crimes in their home country may be ineligible for a Green Card.
In conclusion, obtaining a U.S. Green Card is an important milestone for many immigrants seeking to permanently reside and work in the United States. With the help of proper legal counsel, individuals can become familiar with the eligibility requirements and navigate the application process with ease. Once granted, it is important to follow all of the conditions and regulations in order to remain a legal resident of the United States and reap all of the rights that come with permanent residency.
More questions? Please call 773-687-0549 or contact CIPOLLA LAW GROUP online for a consultation. We have over 30 years of combined experience helping foreign nationals with their immigration status. As one of the top 10 Immigration Lawyers, we have excellent approval and exceptional client satisfaction. We look forward to serving you.
What are the types of U.S. Green Cards?
Marriage based Green Card
There are several types of U.S. Green Cards available for individuals seeking to permanently reside and work in the United States. The most common type is the family-based green card, which is available to those who already have family members living legally in the US, such as a spouse, parent, or child. Family-based Green Cards are also available for those who are seeking to reunite with their families in the US. Please see below examples of some of the Family based Green Cards.
Who? Married couple, fiance(e)
Requirements? Genuine relationship, one partner must be a U.S. permanent resident or citizen.
Benefits? Step children under 18 can be included as dependent. Once approved, can naturalize to become a citizen after 3 years as opposed to the standard 5 years requirement.
Investment based Green Card
Investment Green Cards are also referred to as EB-5 Visas, and are a special type of visa that allow foreign investors to obtain permanent residency in the United States. This visa is reserved for those investors who have invested a minimum of $800,000 (or $1,050,000 in certain areas) into an American business, who can demonstrate that the investment will create at least 10 American jobs. In exchange for their investment, these investors receive permanent residency in the United States and a path to citizenship.
Who? Any foreign nationals over 18 years old.
Requirements? Must invest at least US$800,000 and create 10 full time jobs.
Benefits? Spouse and children can be included as dependents in one petition. No education or special knowledge required. Investment can indirectly without the need to passively managing it. Your family can enjoy quality education and healthcare in the United States.
Self-sponsorship Green Card
Self-sponsored Green Cards, also known as self-petition green cards, are available to certain individuals who do not have family ties in the United States or an employer in the country. These green cards allow individuals to apply for permanent residency without having a sponsoring family member or employer. In order to be eligible for a self-sponsored green card, an individual must demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
Who? Any foreign nationals with extraordinary ability.
Requirements? Advanced degree with extraordinary ability and/or benefits the U.S.
Benefits? Self-sponsored, no offer of employment is required. Spouse and children can be included as dependents in the same petition.
Employer Sponsorship Green Card
In addition, certain individuals may be eligible for an employment-based Green Card if they have sufficient skills and experience that make them attractive to potential employers in the US.
Who? Any foreign nationals who are interested in working in the U.S.
Requirements? A sponsoring U.S. employer who is willing to pay a prevailing wage.
Benefits? Equal or higher wages as other local Americans and a pathway to become U.S. citizen. Spouse and children can be included as dependents to live and study in the U.S.
Merit based Employment Green Card
Merit-based green cards are another type of U.S. Green Cards that are available to individuals who have certain skills or abilities that are seen as beneficial for the country. This type of card is typically awarded to those with extraordinary talents in science, art, education, business, or athletics. The US Government has set strict criteria and stringent background checks for those seeking to obtain a merit-based green card. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate that they can support themselves financially and will not become a public charge in the US. Furthermore, individuals with a criminal record may be ineligible for this type of green card.
Who? Researchers or professors with international recognition.
Requirements? At least 3 years of experience in academic area; permanent job offer from a U.S. employer; credentials must be internationally recognized as outstanding.
Benefits? PERM labor Certificate is not required; Lower standard of proof than EB-1(a). Can be filed concurrently with other employment based green card.