According to the Department of Homeland Security, there is a 5% increase of legal immigration to the United States every year. However, getting permanent residency or Green Card for a non U.S. citizen is not an easy process and it may take a couple of years to obtain a Green Card. The much-coveted Green Card is also known as Permanent Resident Card, Immigrant Visa and Form I 551.
Though Green Card holders are not United States citizens, they have the privilege to work and reside in the U.S. on a permanent basis. The permanent residents should have their Green Card with them at all times, unlike United States citizens who do not need to carry proof of their citizenship.
Carrying a green card at all times while traveling outside or within the US, was not strictly enforced until the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. However, post September 11, the Department of Homeland Security has made it obligatory for the permanent residents to carry their green cards at all times.
About Green Card USA
Regardless of the color of the actual card today, it is known as the green card because the first card that differentiated lawful permanent residents was green in color and hence the name. Though there were varying colors like pink or blue, the name that continued is only “green card.” The current Green Card or permanent resident card is mostly white and is of the size of a normal credit card. The details included in the Green Card are the name of the person, birth date, photograph and other biographic information.
How to apply for a Green Card in USA?
The department responsible for issuing Green Cards in USA is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which was previously called the INS.
A person qualifies to become a permanent resident by a number of ways like sponsorship by an employer (employment based Green Card), through a family member (family based Green Card), through the Diversity Visa lottery and through investment.
However, the Green Card USA can be revoked from any individual who has committed serious crimes or has failed to maintain the permanent residence in the United States by staying outside US for an extensive period.
A family member or an employer may petition a person for a Green Card. Once the petition is approved, the green card USA can be obtained. A non-US citizen can apply for the Green Card in two ways:
If the person is inside the US, he/she has to file the Adjustment of Status application with the USCIS.
If the person is outside the US, he/she has to file an immigrant visa at a Consular Office having jurisdiction over their place of residence. On getting the visa he/she can legally enter the US and become the permanent resident.