A Green Card is an identification document that proves you are a United States permanent resident. When you receive a green card you are entitled to certain rights and responsibilities as a legal permanent resident, but not the same rights as a US citizen. Benefits green card holders receive include the right to live and work in the US permanently. You are responsible to pay taxes and obey all laws. Immigrants who are permanent residents and age 18 or over are required to have a green card (a permanent resident card) and carry it at all times as a form of identification to prove you are legally authorized to live and work in the United States. A valid green card is required to become a naturalized citizen when you would receive all the same rights as a natural born US citizen.
Green cards are valid for 10 years in most cases, or for 2 years in some cases (conditional residence), and must be renewed before the card expires. The length of time it takes to get a green card varies case by case and is evaluated by what green card application status you are applying under. Depending on the status you are applying under other factors considered are how many people apply that year for a green card and what country you are from.
There are three main ways to get a green card:
- Greencard As a Relative of a U.S. Citizen
- Green Card for Asylum or Refugee
- Green Card through a Job Employer
The attorneys at Godoy Law Office work with you to evaluate your immigration status and guide you in your journey to becoming a US citizen. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office at 312-635-4029.
Green Card Through Family Sponsorship
If you have a family member who is a citizen of the United States, they can sponsor you to get a green card. Applying for a green card as a relative of a US citizen has a higher chance of success the closer your relationship is to the family member who is sponsoring you. So, a spouse or child of a US citizen is a closer relation than a niece or cousin. There are a limited number of family sponsorship green cards available each year.
Green Card Through Asylum or Refugee Status
Refugees can apply for a permanent resident green card 1 year after being admitted to the United States. Asylees can apply for permanent residency 1 year after they are granted asylum to the United States.
Green Card Through Your Employer
Your employer can sponsor you for a green card for jobs where the employer can show there is no American citizen qualified, able or willing to take the job you want, and that they have the financial means to pay your salary.
There are many other ways to qualify for a green card, including:
- Green Card for Military Families
- Green Cards for Victims of Abuse or Family Violence
- Green Cards for U nonimmigrants visa holders
- Green Cards Through Spouses or Unmarried Children Who Are Permanent Residents
- Green Card for K1 Fiancé Visa
- Diversity Immigration Lottery Visa Program
Are You Eligible for a Green Card?
Each green card category has unique requirements for eligibility and requires very specific legal documentation, residency requirements and fees. It is advisable to meet with an immigration attorney to select the right category.
Don’t Be Scammed!
There are people who want to take advantage of immigrants and have online immigration scams, fake job offers and phony phone and email programs. You can apply for a green card directly with the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, or with an immigration expert to help you understand your eligibility and apply for a green card.
You are not required to hire an attorney to help you apply for a green card, but an experienced immigration attorney can help you manage the immigration process and save you time and money.
Immigration Simplified offers an affordable alternative to hiring an immigration lawyer or attempting to DIY your immigration application. An Immigration Simplified Attorney can evaluate your Green Card application, review your situation, provide you with the proper forms and help you submit your application. Contact us today to get started or call us at (312) 883-9944.
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