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Green Card Process: Applying For Permanent Residence In US

By: David T. Moore|LRL Writer

Green Card ApplicationGreen Card or Permanent Residence in the US is given to an immigrant after completing the information required for the same. The Green Card given to a person authorizes him/her to obtain the legal rights to work and permanent resident status in the United States without being expelled or denied entry in the country. A person can obtain the citizenship of United States by being sponsored by a family member, through a job, green card lottery, refugee or asylum status or other humanitarian programs. However the process of acquiring the green card can be hefty, complicate and time consuming.

The first and foremost requirement of the green card process is the eligibility that demands one of the immigrant categories established in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) along with an invitation from the employer or the family member from the US and an immigrant visa. This is the first step to the visa petition to the green card. This petition ensures the interest and eligibility of the petitioner to immigrate. This petition also informs USCIS if the person applying for the visa will be continuing it through a US based USCIS office or through a consulate outside US.

Once the visa petition is approved, the next step in the green card process is the placement of the person on the waiting list. Though one has nothing to do while on the list, yet it forms as one of the deciding factors if applied in the category where limited number of green cards are given out each year. This also serves as the status of the application as the date on which a person has sent application becomes the priority date. The immediate relatives (husband, wife, mother, father, unmarried minor child) don't have to worry about the priority dates as they have an advantage over the non immediate relatives.

The person applying for the green card process through non immediate relatives might have to wait for several months to get their application processed. However once the USCIS approves the immigrant visa petition, an immigrant visa number is given to the person through which one can check the status of his/her visa number. It is then followed by an immigrant visa interview appointment which can be held at the nearest US Consulate in the home country or can apply for a lawful permanent resident status if legally residing in the US. The person also needs to complete the requirements for immigrant visa such as medical, fingerprinting, etc.

Whether the process of issuing green card is held within the US or from the abroad, it normally takes about 2 to 3 years for the green card to process. The green card once issued serves as the identity card in US and provides many benefits like that of a citizen. The person with the green card needs to carry it with him/her at all times and show it to a USCIS officer, if requested. The green card gives liberty to the person to leave and return to US, seek employment and study at any place of their will and retain their native citizenship too.

Related Topics:

Immigration and Naturalization Service: United States INS

Green Card Status: How To Check Status Of Your Green Card

Green Card Renewal: Permanent Resident Card Renewal