If you’ve ever dreamed of living and working in the US, then a US green card is what you want! A green card is a permanent residency visa that gives you the right to live in the US for the rest of your life, should you wish. The green card also comes with many other benefits, which we discuss in more detail below.
What Is a Green Card?
A green card is the equivalent of a permanent residency visa for the US. Having a green card means you can make the US your home country and stay there indefinitely. However, you need to go through certain legal processes if you leave the US for six months, or more, and still want to keep your green card.
You need to renew your green card every ten years, but this is a simple procedure.
If You Get a Green Card, Can You Bring Your Family?
If you obtain a green card, you can petition to bring your spouse and children under the age of 21 with you to the US. You can also sponsor other relatives to try to help them obtain residency in the US.
Working in the US on a Green Card
When holding a green card you are allowed to work and set up businesses in the US. You can apply for any work you like, so long as the work does not require that you are a US citizen.
How Do You Get a Green Card?
To obtain a green card, you either have to have worked/lived in the US for a certain period of time, under certain circumstance, or win the green card lottery (which is held yearly by the US government).
If it turns out you are eligible for a green card, you have to apply for one by filling out an immigrant petition form and a green card application. You may wish to hire a lawyer to help you with the process.
The Difference Between a Green Card and US Citizenship
Green card holders and US citizens generally have the same rights in the US. The difference is that citizens can vote and run for office, as well as a petition for distant relatives and in-laws to be granted asylum, which green card holders cannot. Also, as mentioned previously, when you are a green card holder, you cannot leave the US for six months, or more, without going through legal procedures that prove you still wish to keep the US as your main country of residence.
Can You Become a US Citizen as a Green Card Holder?
After having a green card for five years, you may apply for US citizenship. If you had a spousal visa, then got a green card, you may apply for citizenship after three years.
Your Responsibilities as a Green Card Holder
Holding a green card, the laws of the United States will protect you when living in the US. In return, you have to obey the laws of the United States. You also have to pay taxes and report income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), support the democratic form and if you are male, aged 18-25, you have to register with the Selective Service.
Cost of Obtaining a Green Card
The cost of obtaining a green card depends on who you use as a legal representative (if any). You also have to pay to file form I-485. The green card lottery, on the other hand, is entirely free to enter.