The USA is a country that offers a plenty of opportunities to immigrants for settling down and working. Moreover, the amazing economic well-being of the USA attracts individuals from worldwide, be it Immigrants or Visitors. Those individuals willing to immigrate to a country like the United States should have to go through the basic requirements. This is where Green cards play an effective role.
Still, several people are not aware of the role of green cards in the immigration process. However, in this article, you will get to know everything about Green cards.
What is the green card?
A green card is a type of document that enables immigrants to settle and permanently work in the US. It is also called Permanent resident cards. If you hold a Green card, it will be easy for you to shift to any US state to get a job, earn income, and settle with your family.
Moreover, you are also eligible to travel out of the US, and the thing you need to ensure that you are not staying outside the US for more than a year. Otherwise, your Green card will get expire, and hence you will have to apply for it again.
Types of green card
There are several types of US Green cards available based on your situation and how you will acquire them. In general, these below-mentioned four green card categories having their separate visas and requirements:
Family-sponsored Green Cards
You can obtain this family-based green card only if you have any of your close family members living in the US and are looking to reunite with them. These green cards are liable only to the immediate family, including children, siblings, parents of a US citizen or US permanent resident, and spouses.
Returning resident Green Card.
This Green card visa is for the residents who previously had the green card but traveled out of the US and didn’t get the chance to return to the US for more than one year. The reason for not granted to come back is beyond their control, some of the reasons like they have been stuck in other countries due to family and cultural reasons. To obtain this category of green card, you will have to prove that you do not get the opportunity to come back to the US in the previous year.
Diversity Visa Green Card
Each year US organizes the visa lottery for those citizens having low immigrant rates to the US. If you register for the lottery and, by chance, obtained the diversity visa, then you are on the way to receive the green card.
Employment Sponsored Green Cards
This green card is only eligible for those immigrants who have received the job offer in the US from their home country. Your employers will be the ones who will pay for your application process and forms, and they will sponsor you to stay in the US. With that employment-sponsored Green card, you are limited to that employer, and you will have to work for that specific company until your contract expires. You can only look for other jobs if your sponsorship conditions are completed.
Can I apply for the Green card?
No matter, which green card you are choosing to apply for, you will have to meet some of the basic requirements set by the USA government. Every US immigrant visa has its separate terms and conditions, which you have to fulfill. Apart from this, you have few other requirements which you can find in each visa; some of its details are given below:
- The candidate should be living in a foreign country– several people prefer to apply for the Green card directly from their home country. However, if you are residing in the US, there are certain other requirements that you must meet.
- If you are in the US, you should have a dual intent visa– It is a temporary visa and enables you to register for a green card after some time. An example of this temporary visa is an H-1B visa.
- For a family-based visa, your family members must be living in the US – Your family members can either be your spouse, child, sibling, or adoptive parent. A family member plays an effective role in your immigration process. A family should be US citizens, willing to sponsor your application form, or a permanent resident. Moreover, they should also prove that they are financially capable of supporting you in your first few months after arriving in the US until you find the job.
- Some additional requirements for this are that your family members should not be less than 21 years of age and have a valid US address.
- If your family is less than 21 years of age, they won’t permit you to sponsor you for the green card. Moreover, your family member should be presently residing in the US and provide a valid US address where you will visit after obtaining a green card.
- For an employment green card, you should have a job offer – If you have a US job, you should prove it. Therefore you have to present a signed letter or a contract letter in which it is mentioned that you can start working after you obtain the green card. Oral agreements are not considered by the US department when there is the matter of issuing the green card, so ensure that you have a valid document that shows that you have a job in the US.
- Your employer should be reputed enough and meet the requirements– If you have got a job offer in the US from any specific employer, you need to ensure that your employer can pay you the salary. The US department takes responsibility for the immigrant visas and green cards. Thus they ask for a valid financial statement from the company that is sponsoring your visa. If their provided financial statements signify that the employer cannot provide you with the monthly salary, it will deny your green card approval request.
- You should not have any criminal record.
- If you have stayed in the US anytime in the past, you must have respected all the regulations and did not overstay your visa.
How you can apply for the green card
Once you have understood the kind of the US immigrants visa, gone through the requirements to apply for the visa, and also you have decided for which visa you are going to apply. Now is the time to begin with your green card process. For most the green card application, you will have to follow the few steps mentioned:
Should have sponsor petition
Your sponsor must petition on your behalf – The petition can be from the employer or the family member. The form number of the family-sponsored petition is Form I-130, the form for the employment-based petition, and the petition for alien relatives is I-140. The petition should be filed with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and also your green card fee should be paid.
Obtain the NVC package
After your petitions get approved, NVC will provide you with the package; USCIS will review the petition and decide if you are eligible. If they sanction your petition, your submitted documents will pass on to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will then send the package to your home country of residence. The package you will receive will include all the forms and instructions you will have to fill out. NVC will not pass the package to you until your priority date is current.
Apply for a visa at the US embassy
You have to apply for a visa by visiting the embassy. As per the instruction given in the NVC package, you will be required to submit all the required application fees and apply by visiting the US embassy to your country residence. Moreover, you will be required to submit your additional documents and also under the visa interview.
Visit the US
If your visa gets approved, you have to visit the US along with the arrival package. If you have completed all the steps and your visa gets approved, you will receive an arrival package from the US embassy. You don’t have permission to open it, but you should carry that package with you when you first travel to the US. Only US immigrants official at the time of the entry are allowed to open the package, and they are the ones who will decide whether you are eligible to enter the US or not. Remember that if your visa gets approved, it doesn’t mean that you will surely be allowed to enter the US. An official at the US port of entry is the deciding authority.
At least once a time in the US, you must fill the form I-485, apply for permanent residence, or adjust the status of USCIS. This is the only form that will allow you to get a permanent residence card. Once USCIS reviews your request and within two to four weeks, you will get the green card via mail.
Travel abroad as a green card holder
Being a green card holder, you get a limited time for remaining outside the US. The standard time for traveling outside the US is one year. Thus, the time depends much on whether you have an intention to become a naturalized citizen or not.
Does health insurance for green card holder compulsory
No, it is not compulsory to take health insurance for the immigrants of citizens. Moreover, it is highly recommended to take some coverage as health care in the US is very costly. Even if you consult a doctor, it can cost hundreds of dollars, whereas if you reach the hospitals, it will cost you more than a thousand dollars per night, too, after eliminating the cost of treatment.
Can I stay more than six months outside us with a green card?
As mentioned earlier, yes you can stay, only if you are traveling for a temporary purpose. Else it may also abandon your LPR status.
How is a green card valid for?
Although the green card doesn’t have any expiry date, most are valid for ten years. However, if you have obtained the conditional green card, it is valid for two years.
How long US citizen can stay out of the country?
If the citizen stays out of the US for more than 12 months, they might lose their lawful permanent resident status.
Do green cardholders pay tax?
Being a green card holder, you need to file a US income tax return and report worldwide irrespective of where you live. The income tax scheme for the green card holder is the same as for the US citizens.