American Green Card: Complete Guide to Getting Yours (Updated 2023)


Many people dream of the moment when they will get their American Green card, but for that, there is a trajectory and steps to be followed. Learn in this Complete Guide, the step by step of how to win yours.

To assist you in this process, we have prepared this article with general information about the American Green Card.

Here you will understand what an American Green Card is and what rights and duties of those who own one.

In addition, we have added the categories eligible to request this document, the application process, and tips on how to proceed at each stage.

We hope that this material will be very useful on your journey and can contribute to achieving your goals.

At the end of the articles, we provide contact information, if you have any questions regarding immigration abroad please contact us.

We will be happy to help you!

To make it easier, we have prepared a guide for topics:

1. About American Green Card, Visa, and Citizenship

To enter the United States, you must have a visa that meets what you intend to do in the country. This visa can be for tourists, students, investors, work, etc.

This document is attached to your passport and needs to be presented to the immigration agent as soon as you arrive in the country.

The Green Card is a permanent residence status in the country. It is beyond sight, both in terms of mandatory issues and benefits.

After obtaining a Green Card, it is possible to obtain American citizenship, which includes all citizen rights, without any distinction, such as the right to vote and the possibility to run for public office.

2. What is an American Green Card?

american green card

The term Green Card is a permanent residence document issued to foreigners by the United States government.

The document is called the “United States Permanent Resident Card”.

It is known as the American Green Card because of its color, as in the past it was issued entirely in green.

Currently the document is white with green details, but it is still known by this term.

The Green Card is the permanent resident’s most important document, and after obtaining it, it must always be in possession of it. Well, it is with him that the legal status is proved.

American Green Card holders have most of the rights and duties of American citizens.

Excluding only the right to vote, run for elected office, exercise public office, and some public services and benefits.

With respect to duties, it is subject to the same tax return and tax payment obligations, as well as tax rates and deductions.

3. Benefits of having an American Green Card

Check below in more detail the rights and duties you have when you have an American Green Card.

As a permanent resident, you are entitled to:

Live permanently anywhere in the United States;

Work in the United States;

Owning properties in the United States;

Attend public schools;

Apply for a driver’s license in your state or territory;

Join certain sectors of the US Armed Forces;

Obtain Social Security benefits, Supplementary Pension Income, and Medicare benefits, if you are entitled;

Apply for American citizenship, after fulfilling all requirements;

Apply for visas so that the husband/wife and unmarried children can live in the United States;

Leave and return to the United States, under certain conditions.

As a permanent resident, you must:

Obey all federal, state, and local laws.

Pay federal, state, and local income taxes.

Register with the Selective Service (U.S. Armed Forces Selection Service) if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 26.

Maintain your immigration status;

Carry your Green Card at all times;

Communicate your new address online each time you move, over the Internet or by letter to USCIS, within 10 days of the date of the move.

4. Durability

Once a Green Card is obtained, its permanence status is not valid.

However, it is necessary that the document is renewed every 10 years with the USCIS (United States immigration agency).

In the event of loss or theft, the document holder must go to the immigration agency and file a form to request a duplicate.

5. American Green Card Categories and Value

The first step is to find out if the applicant falls into one of the categories provided for in American law.

There are different categories, but the immigration process can vary and, in some cases, new forms of application may arise.

5.1 Migrants based on family ties

They are those who qualify for immigrant status based on kinship with a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States.

The American family member must file an immigration petition with the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) on behalf of the person who wishes to immigrate.

The form must be filled in according to the category to which the foreigner falls.

The American citizen can apply to parents, spouse, children, and sibling.

While a permanent resident can apply only for spouses and children

5.2 American citizen’s boy have a right to Green Card?

A fiancée visa, also known as a k-1 visa, allows a US citizen’s foreign fiancée to enter the United States, marry within 90 days, and then request an adjustment of status (adjustment of status – AOS).

Only after this change, the applicant receives the status of permanent resident, that is, his Green Card.

To qualify for a “K-1” non-immigrant visa, you must:

Both the petitioner and the beneficiary must be free to marry (be single, divorced, or widowed).

The couple must have known each other personally for at least 2 years.

The American citizen (petitioner) must first apply for a K1 fiance visa with the USCIS in the USA. To do this, you must complete petition I-129.

If the applicant has a single child and is under 21 years of age, he/she has the possibility to obtain a k-2 visa, which allows them to migrate to the country and apply for permanent residence status with the person responsible.

5.3 American citizen’s spouse

This visa was created for occasions when the K-1 application process takes approval.

In this case, the spouse receives the K-3 visa and if he/she has a child, he/she receives the K-4 visa.

Its purpose is to gather family members who are subject to a long period of separation during the process, it allows the visa holder to travel to the United States and wait for the approval of the status in the country.

This category is hardly used since the process is currently more dynamic and efficient.

5.4 Employment-based immigrants

There are cases of people who get work before they even move to the United States.

In this case, when opening a company in the USA, you will need to hire a specialist in the subject and also file a petition in the United States using Form I-140 with the USCIS, justifying that hiring a foreigner is essential for the company.

5.5 Diversity immigrants

Known as the visa lottery, the American government conducts a random selection each year, where it makes immigration visas available to people from countries with low immigration rates.

To participate in the Annual Diversity Program, you must apply in advance on the State Department website, within the period stipulated by the current regulation and comply with all eligibility requirements under United States law.

In this category, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of the selected candidates can also apply for visas to accompany the main candidate.

5.6 Widows

If a person is a widow of an American citizen, he / she can apply for immigration to the country through a petition using the I-360 form.

However, the process must start up to 2 years from the date of death of the spouse.

It is important to note that the eligibility to immigrate as a widow ends in the case of a marriage carried out before completing the permanent residency process.

5.7 Investor

This visa is intended for people who have invested considerable capital in business in the United States.

The investment value varies between U $ 500,000.00 and U $ 1,000,000.00. According to the area in which you want to invest. It is the famous l1 visa.

Within this context, some entrepreneurs stand out on American soil. Many of them stand out for selling and serving their customers with quality.

Within the digital context, many seek to use WhatsApp as a sales tool and end up opting for tools that allow them to use WhatsApp business on more than one pc.

This same businessman, over time, becomes an investor who must create job vacancies for people with whom they do not have a relationship.

Meeting all requirements, the investor can apply for a Green Card using Form I-526 from USCIS.

5.8 Political asylum and refugees

Asylum is an immigration benefit granted to certain foreigners who suffer, or fear being persecuted in their countries.

This benefit allows them to live legally in the United States of America. One year after obtaining asylum, the foreigner can apply for permanent residence status.

The same conditions apply to people who are refugees from some countries, who can also apply for a Green Card after living in the United States for at least 1 year.

6. Step by step to apply for a Green Card

Now that we have clarified which categories are eligible, we will list the step-by-step with basic guidelines on how to proceed at each stage.

6.1 Identify the eligible categories and start the process

The first step in the process is to demonstrate that you fall into some of the categories eligible to receive a Green Card, as required by US law.

This is the time when you must complete the form and file your petition with the USCIS, by the rules for each category.

6.2 Waiting for results concerning the petition

After sending the form to USCIS, it is necessary to wait for the result of the petition.

If the application is approved, the immigration agency sends the approved application to the NVC (National Visa Center), which in turn will issue a visa number.

In cases of a denied application, USCIS informs what the reasons were and if there is a possibility to appeal the decision.

6.3 National visa center (NVC) notification

NVC is responsible for processing the Green Card application. This body will inform the candidate and the company or sponsor at the time the petition is received.

As well as informing about the release of the visa number and if there is a need to send any additional documentation.

When all instructions and payment of the required fees are fulfilled. NVC informs the candidate of the date and time of the interview to be held later.

6.4 Interview

The interview is the last step before obtaining the Green Card, at this point, it will be decided whether the applicant is able or not to receive the document.

6.5 American visa packet and green card receipt

If everything is approved, the American consulate office will send the applicant the Visa Packet, which will contain information regarding your immigrant visa application process.

Upon arrival in the United States, the Visa Packet must be handed over to the immigration service and, after inspection by customs officials, you will be admitted as a permanent resident of the country.

The Green Card will be sent by mail to the address filled in the form.

If this does not happen within 45 days of your arrival in the country, you must contact the USCIC (National Customer Service Center) or directly at the local office.

In addition to the advantage of fewer restrictions concerning travel, people who have a Green Card can apply for American citizenship, after 5 years in common processes and 3 years for those who are married to an American citizen.

7. Conclusion

Getting a Green Card and becoming a legal American resident is not an easy task, but it is possible.

The path is long, there are many variables in this process, and many steps must be fulfilled to the letter to be successful.

If you want to get a detailed step by step and talk to an expert about your project just schedule your FREE consultation.

We wish you success on this journey.

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