What Is A Green Card?

If you want to emigrate to the United States of America – you will be needing a Green Card. In essence, the Green Card or a Permanent Resident Card is a permit that allows the holder to work and live in the USA permanently. There are several ways you could get the Green Card while the easiest way in getting it would be by participating in the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery also known as Green Card Lottery. 

Green Card Official Definition 

The United States of America Green Card is officially named as “Lawful Permanent Resident Card”. Thus, the holders of the Green Card are named as Permanent Residents. In more official terms, it is called the Form I-551

Immigrants who want to move to the USA permanently need to have the Green Card. The ownership of the Green Card allows a person to emigrate in the United States of America and stay there permanently. 

Green Card holders can stay and live in the US without any limitations to their work nor home address. This is the main difference compared to nonimmigration visa. 

Nonimmigrant visas are linked to the holder’s job in most cases and don’t provide total freedom of work and movement in the USA.

Immigrants interested in applying for a Green Card can do that by submitting their application to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

Once you are a holder of the Green Card you need to make sure that you always carry your permit with you as this is a proof of your residence permit.

Green Card Eligibility Categories

As stipulated by the law, you have several options. Some of them are:

  • Green Card Lottery (also known as Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery)
  • Family reunion
  • Workplace
  • Refugee or Asylee

Whether you decide to participate in the Diversity Visa Program under the Family Reunion or Workplace option, you need to take into account that obtaining the Green Card may take several years to complete as the process is extremely detailed and requires the cooperation of several authorities.

That’s why participating in the Green Card Lottery is so important. You could get the Green Card in a much shorter time frame. People don’t know that but the odds of winning the Green Card Lottery are very decent. 

In fact, there is a 1:40 chance that you’ll get the Green Card by participating in the Lottery. 

These are really good odds and that’s why we recommend you to take part of the Green Card Lottery and start living the American Dream. 

Why Does The US Issue Green Cards? 

The first immigration restrictions were enacted after the Civil War and since then multiple federal agencies have been established that regulate the immigration rules framework.

The Green Card was born during World War II. It was designed to regulate immigration.

When the first Green Card was issued it was bright green and that’s why it is called the Green Card today. Before the Green Card, it was called Alien (foreigner) Registration Receipt Card. 

Today, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) deals with all kinds of immigration questions while before 2013, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was in charge. 

Green Card Design

Here is a photo of the Green Card.

The Green Card has a photo included on both sides, it is colored green, it has the image of Statue of Liberty and the American Flag, signature and stripes on the back and a hologram. 

In the front end of the Green Card you can find information about person’s first and last name, date of birth, sex, validation date, fingerprint, photo, validity date, category and USCIS. There is also information when the holder became a US resident. 

On the back side of the Green Card you can find a photo of the holder, bar code and three lines of category codes.  

Rights of a Green Card Holder

Once you’re a holder of the Green Card, you are entitled to work and live in the United States of America permanently. After 5 years, the Green Card holder, has a chance to become a US Citizen. 

After you’ve moved to the US you can still spend your time outside of the country up to two years if you’ve filed necessary documentation in time. 

Responsibilities of a Green Card Holder

Once you are a resident of the United States of America you need to start submitting U.S. tax returns. You are going to need to do this every year.

Other than that, you need to act like a good citizen. 

Does Green Card Expire (Replacing Your Green Card)?

No, the Green Card does not expire, but you need to renew the identification card every 10 years. For that, you need to file the form I-90 to do that. 

It’s important to notice that you can still live legally in the U.S. even if your Green Card expires. However, you need to update it as soon as possible, otherwise it may become invalid. 

When Green The Card Becomes Invalid?

The Green Card becomes invalid once you become a US Citizen, commit a crime, stay out of the United States of America for more than 364 days without approval.

You can also voluntarily give up the Green Card. 

US Citizenship vs US Green Card

The Green Card holders have an option to become a US Citizen after staying in the USA for five years. 

Being a Green Card holder doesn’t allow you to stay outside of the USA for as long as you want, it has voting limitations and you are entitled to medicare after being in the States for more than 5 year (not before). There are also many other limitations. 

Can I buy a Green Card?

Yes, you can buy the Green Card for a consideration of $900 000.

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