The United States has a merit-based immigration system in place that sets the benchmarks for vetting people who apply for immigration to the US. The system ranks the applicants on the basis of points scored for education, skills, work experience, financial backing, and language etc. Being a permanent resident of the US and having the green card come with many benefits. There are many people who are unaware of the important facts about the green card. Here I introduce to you certain facts about the green card:
What is a green card?
The green card is a proof of your permanent residency in the United States. The CIS issues the green card to foreign nationals who want to live and work in the US and meet all the requirements. After getting the green card, you would be able to live and work in the US on a permanent basis. The green card has to be renewed after every ten years. The green card basically leads to naturalization and permanent US citizenship for many people.
Why is it called a green card?
When the US first introduced its permanent residency card, it was named as the alien registration receipt card. And the first card that was issued right after the WWII was green. That is the reason it has been named as the green card.
Who can get a green card?
At present, there are different categories of the green card eligibility. These categories are based on spousal sponsorship, parental relationships, people possessing exceptional abilities, people who have had asylum and refugee status, and entrepreneurs. The US government has also made the green card available via the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which is more popular as the green card lottery.
Under the green card lottery program, permanent residency is provided to 50,000 people every year on a random drawing basis. However, there are many countries that have been barred from applying under this program. Be sure to check the eligibility criteria and list of the allowed and barred countries when considering applying for the green card lottery. Also, the US government is now considering stopping the green card lottery program.
How can one get a green card and how long does it take?
If you are an immigrant already residing in the US lawfully, you must file an application to change your visa status and get the permanent resident status. Keep in mind that there are pre-decided numbers of visas that are issued annually to grant permanent resident status to foreign nationals. If you have an immediate relative in the US who can sponsor you, the number-based visa restriction does not apply to you.
If you are outside the United States, you can apply for a green card at the American embassy or consulate. You can initiate the process by filing a petition, which can lead to the issuance of an immigrant visa number, so you can go ahead with the rest of the process.
The processing time for green card applications differs from place to place and case to case. Normally, it takes a minimum of 6 months on average to get the US green card.
What is the cost of getting a green card?
The cost of getting a green card is more than $1,000. This amount covers the fees for the adjustment of your status as a permanent resident, fingerprint collection fees, and the associated biometric fees like pictures and signs used for security purposes.
What are the benefits of having a green card?
After getting the green card, you would be entitled to many benefits, such as traveling without restrictions across the US, sponsoring your family members for permanent residency in the US, access to social security and tax advantages etc.
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