A USA green card allows foreign nationals to gain permanent residence, settle work in the US.
Immigration, USA

What Is Green Card USA – All You Need To Know?

Last Updated on March 29, 2022 by Visa Journal

A USA green card allows a citizen who is not originally from the U.S. to gain permanent residence in the U.S. The country is quite welcoming towards immigrants. You will find various nationalities in the country. A Green Card allows people from other countries to settle down in the U.S. and earn a livelihood.

The U.S. Government issues a million number of Green cards. Most are issued to families of U.S. citizens. The workers who migrate to the U.S. to work are also recipients of the green card.

How To Apply for Green Card USA?

A Green card is like an Immigrant Visa to stay in the U.S. There are several ways you can file a green card U.S. application. All the applications go to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS. The said authorities have the final say on the matter. The authorities approve the card application, after which the main Green card applicant has to visit the U.S. Embassy in their home nation for a Consular Round.

You have to apply for a green card online. There are three different types of Green card categories:

  • Immigration through Green Card Lottery or the Diversity Visa program
  • Immigration through job or Employment-based program
  • Immigration through family or Family-based program

The application process, timelines, eligibility, and fees vary depending on the type of route you take. If you have immediate relatives like parents and spouses staying in the U.S. who are trying for a card, it is relatively easy for them to get one, in six months or so. If they are applying from elsewhere, the wait can be longer.

Green Card Through Lottery

If you want to take this route, you have to meet specific eligibility criteria. It includes education that is equivalent to 12-year schooling and work experience of at least two years in the last five years. You need to be from one of the countries that has very few citizens applying for an immigrant visa under this category. The application is free of cost, but after selection, you need to pay a fee. Moreover, there is no guarantee that you will get the card through the process. Only 55, 000 immigrants are allowed permanent citizenship through this route each year. Spouses and children of the main applicant automatically get a green card under this system without any waiting time.

Green Card Through Job

Citizenship, qualifications, planned stay duration, and company status play an important role in this category. Usually, temporary work visas are issued to those who wish to work there. If you want to get permanent residency through work, you need to apply under the following categories. The process is complicated and time-consuming as well.

You can get a green card if:

  • You are applying for a job, for which there are few eligible Americans.
  • You are an entrepreneur who can create jobs in the U.S.
  • You can file a petition called ‘Self-Petition’ for skills that are outlandish to the country.
  • You are an international Translator, Religious worker, or International Organization Employee.

Green Card Through Family

Your application process becomes smooth if you have an immediate family member staying in the U.S. with citizenship status. Apart from U.S. citizens, all Green cardholders have the right to bring in their family to live with them in the U.S. You can also obtain a card if you are a fiancé of a U.S. citizen or another green cardholder. Additionally, widows of the same can also apply for a green card. Unmarried children under 21 years, brothers, sisters, married children above 21 years, and parents are also eligible to apply for the green card. The spouse, unmarried children under 21 years, and parents get first preference.

Benefits Of Green Card USA

Green card holders are permanent resident US in the eyes of the law. They also enjoy multiple benefits that visa holders do not get.

  • If you have a green card, you can apply for U.S. Citizenship after five years of stay and work in the U.S. It is three years, if you are married to an U.S. citizen.
  • You can also sponsor family member and immediate relatives to get green cards.
  • You can incur fewer expenses on education in the U.S.
  • You can also renew your card every ten years.
  • A green card also makes you eligible to contribute to the U.S. elections. That means that you can support a candidate for the elections.

However, you also need to abide by all U.S. laws like the other U.S. citizens with these benefits.

Processing Time

The timeline to get a green card is between 10-38 months, depending on the type of green card you are applying for.

Processing Fees

In 2021, the immigrant visa application fee or green card fee was $325 for family-based applicants, $345 for job-based applicants, and $330 for diversity or lottery visa applicants. Additionally, it is $265 for a fiancé under K-1 visa, and $205 for others.

Green Card Vs U.S. Citizenship  

A green card holder is someone who has got the permission to stay in the U.S. on a permanent basis. They can also retain their citizenship of their own country.

Citizenship is the highest status that is granted under U.S. Immigration law. A Green card holder can apply after a few years for the same.

Can U.S. Green Card Holders Travel to Canada?

Yes, green card holders are considered permanent citizens and can travel to Canada without a visa.


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