Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

How do I save the confirmation number?

The confirmation number is very important, so after submitting the lottery form you need to copy the confirmation number and then paste it into an email message and send this message to yourself with the subject of DV Lottery confirmation number. Also make a screenshot of the screen with the confirmation number and save this screenshot in a safe place (like Google Drive, Dropbox, your flash drive, etc). Also you can save the number in Notes on your phone, can write it down on a piece of paper and keep it in a safe place.

What Is an EB-2?

  • Professionals who hold advanced degrees or a combination of a bachelor’s degree and five years of post-bachelor’s work experience
  • Foreign nationals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts of business
  • Professionals whose work benefits the national interest of the U.S.

Filing the Immigration Petition

Once you’ve determined which category you fit into, you’ll have to file the correct petition before you apply for a green card:

  • Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and green card holders must complete Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative.
  • If you’re applying through your employer, they must file Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for an Alien Worker.
  • If you’re investing your way to a green card, you must file Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by an Alien Entrepreneur.
  • If you’re in the particular immigrant category that includes a widow(er), you will complete Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.

Refugees and asylees typically do not need to file an immigrant petition if they meet the requirements to adjust status and get a green card.

My name has different spelling in the birth certificate and in my passport. What name should I use?

  • Professionals with a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent who are filling a role that requires a college degree. Examples include engineers, architects and teachers.
  • Skilled workers include foreign nationals with at least two years of training or work experience who may or may not hold a college degree
  • Other or unskilled workers are those filling a job that requires less than two years of training or experience. Examples include nannies, housekeepers, groundskeepers and nurse’s aides.

Does travel outside the United States affect my permanent resident status?

  • To submit an application and check the results, use only the official website —;
  • Do not reply to emails or paper letters, do not disclose your details, including information from the confirmation page;
  • Remember that participation in the lottery is free and does not involve any fees;
  • For information, use the US government websites within the .gov domain:,, and
  • Violation of the application form. Even minor violations of the requirements lead to disqualification. For example, an incorrect format of the photo: a non-monocolored background, poor quality, incorrect head position, and the presence of shadows. You can check if yours meets the requirements on this site.

Examples of correct and incorrect photos in the application

Other possible violations:

  • Filing more than one application in the same year. Even if you find a typo in the first form, do not try to submit the second — you will be automatically disqualified. If you win, you will be able to explain the error during the interview;
  • Stating incorrect information. At the first stage, the authenticity of the information is not verified — this happens immediately after the victory. If you have changed two letters in the first name, last name, date of birth, or made minor typos in other places, this will not be a problem. But bigger mistakes will get you disqualified;

Determine Your Eligibility Category

Immigration laws in the United States were written to provide immigrants with various methods for getting a green card. Your eligibility category will determine which path to a green card you should take.

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

A green card road sign. If you are unsure which path to take to permanent residency in the U. , learn about the three most common ways to get a green card.

Green Card Through Family

If you’re a close relative to a U. citizen or a green card holder, they can petition for you to obtain legal permanent residency. This option is the fastest and most popular path to getting a green card. citizens are permitted to petition for immediate relatives, including:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age
  • Parents of U.S. citizens who are over 21 years old
  • First Preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters over age 21 of U.S. citizens.
  • Second Preference (2A): Spouses of green card holders, unmarried children under 21 of permanent residents
  • Second Preference (2B): Unmarried sons and daughters over 21 of permanent residents
  • Third Preference: Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens

Relatives who are not in the United States will have to go through consular processing. This means their green cards are issued by the U. Department of State. Once the Department of State grants them a visa, they will get a green card when they’re admitted into the United States.

citizens can also petition for siblings and married children over 21. However, that process generally takes a lot longer because these individuals are not considered immediate relatives.

If you get married or turn 21 years old, things change, and immigration law states you will have to wait longer in order to get a green card through a U. citizen relative.

There are also a few particular circumstances where you can get a green card using USCIS Form I-360: Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er) of a U. citizen, or Special Immigrant. These include being a:

  • Battered spouse or child
  • Widow or widower of a U.S. citizen
  • A special immigrant including religious worker, U.S. Armed Forces member, and more categories

Green Card Through a Job

This green card category is somewhat broad because it doesn’t only deal with your employer. It also includes green card opportunities through investments or having a specialized job.

Permanent Employment

Your employer can be part of your petition for a green card if you’ve received a job offer for permanent employment in the United States. The first step is for your employer to get a labor certification with the U. Department of State and fill out USCIS Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for an Alien Worker.

Permanent employment contracts are generally only granted to highly skilled workers.


Investors can get green cards if they put enough money into U. businesses.

Foreign nationals who invest at least $1,000,000 into a new business or $500,000 into a business in one of the targeted employment areas can then apply for their green card. (A regulation that raised the investment amounts to $1,800,000 and $900,000 respectively was vacated by a court recently

The business must create at least 10 permanent jobs within the United States. The form to fill out would be Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.

Extraordinary Abilities

An extremely rare path to obtaining a green card is by having extraordinary abilities. This green card is known as an EB-1A visa. These applicants are considered the best in their field. Nobel Prize winners and Olympic athletes are two of the most likely groups to attain a green card in this manner.

Being a Refugee or an Asylee

Immigrants who arrive in the United States as a refugee or an asylee can apply for a green card one year after entering the country. This also applies to immediate family members of asylees. Here’s what refugees and asylum seekers need to know:

  • Refugees must submit an application for a green card after being in the country for a year.
  • Asylees are not required to apply for green cards.
  • Refugees or Asylees typically do not need to file an immigrant petition such as an I-130 or I-140 with the USCIS if they meet the requirements to apply for a green card. They can file for I-485 adjustment of status directly.

If the system rejects my entry, can I re-submit my entry?

Yes, you can re-submit your entry before the ending of lottery. You can try to submit an application as many times as is necessary until a complete application is received and the confirmation notice sent. Once you receive a confirmation notice, your entry is complete, and you should not submit any additional entries.

Checking Visa Availability

The number of visas available varies by each immigrant category and by what country you are coming from:

  • Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens do not have to wait long for a visa because there is an unlimited number of visas for this category.
  • There are a limited number of visas for relatives not considered immediate or for those applying through employment. You will be sent a “priority date” and put on a waiting list until your visa is available.
  • Immigrants on this waitlist can check their place in line using the “Visa Bulletin” issued by the State Department each month.

Renewing or Replacing Your Green Card

Do you have a valid green card printed before 2017? If not, be prepared for a new card design when you renew! If you need to renew or replace your green card, FileRight can make it easy.

Take our eligibility quiz for free to see if you’re eligible to renew your green card. If not, you’ll have to use your old card until it gets closer to its expiration date. Or, if you’re working toward full citizenship, maybe you’ll be able to replace it with a Certificate of Naturalization!

Your should write your name in English letters exactly as in your passport. Be careful with the middle name. If your last name is double (it has 2 parts), you should list all parts to “Last/Family Name” field. If you one part of it will put as a middle name, then you will be disqualified. If you don’t have no first or middle name it can be omitted by checking the “No name” box. If in your name you have some letters with “crotchets” just change them to similar English letters. For example “ä” can be change to english “a”, “ö” to “o”, “ñ” to “n”, etc.

How To Find the Qualifying Occupations on the Department of Labor?

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

Outpacing Fraud

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

In 1997, the card was redesigned yet again with the latest security features to thwart the production of counterfeit cards. Also, the name on the card was once again changed, this time to the Permanent Resident Card.

Later, in 2004, there was another slight change to the card as a result of the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. The logo of the DHS replaced the logo of the INS on the cards.

Related Links

  • Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants (PDF, 3.57 MB)
  • How Do I Get a Reentry Permit? (PDF, 667.32 KB)
  • I-131, Application for Travel Document
  • I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card

Other USCIS Links

  • Green Card Resources
  • How Do I Help My Relative Become a Lawful Permanent Resident? (PDF, 577.38 KB)
  • How Do I Renew or Replace My Permanent Resident Card? (PDF, 550.19 KB)
  • “How Do I” Guides for Permanent Residents

How to get a Green Card

You can get a Green Card in different ways. Below are the main ones.

  • Family reunification. For close relativesspouse and parents of a US citizen and their family members — siblings and children;
  • Employment. After an American employer officially confirms that they are ready to hire you, you receive a Green Card. The important conditions are a higher education degree and relevant work experience;
  • Programs for talented people. This method is suitable for winners of international competitions, scientists who have made discoveries, recognized artists, and others. To receive a Green Card, you must confirm that you intend to continue your professional activities in the United States;
  • Investment. Five years after investing at least 900,000 in a company in the United States, you get the right to apply for citizenship. Funds must be obtained legally, and the company has to employ at least ten people;

Other methods of immigration

Responsibilities of the Green Card holder

  • Pay taxes on time. For tax evasion, you lose your Green Card.
  • Do military service. All men from 18 to 26 years old are registered with the military.
  • Stay in the United States for most of the year. You can travel abroad, but such trips should not be longer than a year. Otherwise, immigration officials will decide that you do not need a Green Card. Then you will have to prove your connection with America in court. The deprivation of the card can be avoided if in the States you have real estate, work, and family.
  • Comply with the laws of the United States. After committing a crime, a person is punished and then deported to their homeland. A permanent resident is also relieved of the Green Card if they falsify information to obtain social benefits. For example, pretend to be a US citizen or enter into several marriages at the same time.

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Quick facts

Lawful permanent residents can work and live in the U. indefinitely. Individuals need to renew their physical green card every 10 years.

More so, 90 days prior to their fifth anniversary as a lawful permanent resident,  green card holders are typically eligible to apply for citizenship.

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sara Herbek, who is the Managing Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P. (www. giafirm. com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

Is It Hard to Get a Green Card?

Even for the most well-qualified green card applicants, the process of being approved can be long and complex. One small mistake can result in you having to start over from square one. This is why many immigrants choose to work with immigration attorneys. However, immigration lawyer fees can be steep. Not everyone can afford it.

FileRight can help you avoid mistakes and save money by using our immigration help software. This service can minimize your risk and help you get your green card faster.

What is your current marital status?

  • Workers of extraordinary ability (such as individuals with expertise in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics).  
    The beneficiary must be national or internationally known for his or her achievements
  • The beneficiary must be national or internationally known for his or her achievements
  • Outstanding university professors or researchers
  • Executives or managers of multinational companies

Green Card Timeline;

The processing time for a green card is anywhere from 7-56 months, depending on the type of green card you’re applying for and where you’re applying from.


For spouses and immediate relatives (parents and minor children) of U. citizens applying from within the United States through adjustment of status, the wait is currently 21-38 months. For spouses of U. green card holders, other relatives of U. citizens, and employment-based green cards, the wait can be much longer, typically two years or more.

Let Boundless help you get started on your adjustment of status application today!


For spouses and immediate relatives (parents and minor children) of U. citizens applying from outside the United States via consular processing, the wait is currently 7-34 months. All other green card categories are subject to country caps, and wait times vary dramatically.

Green Card Costs;

For other green card categories, check the USCIS website for the cost of your particular form.

Need more help? At Boundless, you’ll get an experienced immigration attorney to review your green card application and answer all of your questions — for no extra cost. Get started on your application today!

Different Types of Green Cards;

There are many categories of green cards. The most common types are:

  • Family-Based Green Card
  • Employment-Based Green Card
  • Humanitarian Green Cards
  • Diversity Lottery Green Card
  • Longtime-Resident Green Card
  • Other Green Cards
  • Each of these is covered in more detail below.

Family-Based Green Card;

Close relatives of U. citizens and current green card holders may apply for family-based green cards of their own. Eligible family members include spouses, children, parents, and siblings (as well as the spouses and children of those spouses, adult children, and siblings).

Also included in this category are widows and widowers who were married to a U. citizen at the time the citizen died. Like spouses of living U. citizens and current green card holders who apply for a marriage-based green card, widows and widowers must prove that their marriage was authentic in order to receive a green card.

Many extended family members — cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents — do not qualify. They may apply for a green card only if they, too, have a closer relative who is a U. citizen or current green card holder (or qualify for one of the other types of green cards below).

Employment-Based Green Card;

Within the employment-based green card category, multiple subcategories of workers can apply for permanent residence. In some cases, their spouses and children may qualify for a green card, as well.

*Extraordinary ability is demonstrated “through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation,” according to U. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). **Exceptional ability refers to “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered” in your field.

Humanitarian Green Cards;

People who fear, or have experienced, persecution in their home country — because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group — can seek protection in the United States by applying for a visa from abroad (to come as refugees) or from within the United States (to remain as asylees).

Once they have physically lived in the United States for at least one year since receiving refugee status or asylum, they may apply for a green card. Children and spouses (and in some cases, other family members) of refugees and asylees may also seek protection in the United States under these programs and eventually apply for a green card.

For human-trafficking victims

Victims of human trafficking who are living in the United States — whether lawfully or unlawfully (in other words, “undocumented”) — may apply for a T visa to stay in the United States for up to four years. As a condition of the T visa, however, they must help to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of human trafficking (unless the victim is under age 18, in which case they need not help with such efforts).

  • Three years since receiving a T visa
  • The duration of an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking

They must also meet other eligibility requirements. These include, for instance, demonstrating “good moral character” (meaning they have not committed certain crimes, such as fraud, prostitution, or murder) from the time they received a T visa until they’re approved for a green card. As another example, they must demonstrate to the U. government that they would suffer extreme hardship involving severe harm if they were required to leave the United States. (USCIS provides the full list of eligibility criteria

Certain family members will also be eligible to apply for their own green cards as long as both those relatives and the victim satisfy all requirements.

For crime victims

Victims of “substantial physical or mental abuse” who are living in the United States — whether lawfully or unlawfully (in other words, “undocumented”) — may seek protection by applying for a U visa. To obtain a U visa, the victim’s application must be certified by a law enforcement agency. Like recipients of T visas (see above), an applicant for a U visa must also agree to help investigate and prosecute people who commit certain crimes, such as kidnapping, sexual assault, and torture.

  • They must have physically lived in the United States for at least three years since receiving a U visa.
  • They must not have left the United States from the time they applied for a green card until USCIS has approved (or denied) their application.
  • They must not have refused to help investigate or prosecute certain crimes from the time they received a U visa until USCIS approves (or denies) their green card application.

The victim’s children, parents, siblings, and spouse will also be eligible to apply for their own green cards as long as both those relatives and the victim satisfy all requirements.

For abuse victims

Victims of domestic violence (battery or extreme cruelty) may apply for a green card that would allow them to seek relief through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Although this law was created to benefit women, it applies to both women and men, and both parents and children, who are victims of abuse.

An abuse victim may apply for a green card on their own — without the knowledge or permission of their abusive relative, who can include:

  • A current or former spouse who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder
  • A parent who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder
  • A child who is a U.S. citizen

USCIS will not notify the abusive relative of the application in order to keep the victim safe. (Full eligibility requirements are detailed on the USCIS website

IMPORTANT: If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse now, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline right away at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). You’ll be able to talk with someone about available resources, such as shelters, mental health care, and legal assistance. The hotline also provides information about green cards through VAWA.

more will come.

What if I lose my confirmation number? How to retrieve my lost confirmation number for DV Lottery?

A tool is now available in the Entrant Status Check page of the E-DV website that will allow you to retrieve your confirmation number via the email address with which you registered by entering certain personal information to confirm your identity. There are no other ways to check your status or provide your confirmation number. embassies and consulates and the Kentucky Consular Center are unable to do this. The Department of State is not able to provide a list of those selected to continue the visa process.

Mailing Address

Remember that your mailing address should be clear enough for the international mail service. “In care of” in the mailing address is the name of the receiver. Address line 2 field can be blank if your address fully fits within the line 1. If you do not know your postal code, you can get it in your post office. How to spell the address. If you don’t know how to spell your address in English correctly use the Google Maps: select English language and copy the address to the lottery form. Here is instruction:

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

Employers Brought on Board

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

While the new changes improved security, there were still many varieties of green cards out there. Employers complained to the INS about how they could verify who was in the United States legally through the cards.

As a result, INS decided on a new card design introduced in 1989. Also, INS made all other cards issued prior to 1979 invalid, cutting down on the confusion of green card types. However, with greater access to computing power and printing, fraud increased once again.

Benefits of Both Green Card Holders and U. Citizens

Both green card holders and U. citizens can:

  • Own or rent property in the U.S.
  • Apply for a driver’s license
  • Go to public schools and colleges
  • Get bank accounts
  • Get a social security number, which you will need to apply for a job

Also, both green card holders and U. citizens must:

  • File federal and state income tax returns
  • Register with the Selective Service if you are a man between the ages of 18 and 25

How much time do I have for filling the form?

This is because your lottery application will be rejected later if your photo is incorrect, but when you upload a photo to the DV lottery form, it accepts any photo, incorrect or correct, without any feedback. If you upload a photo of incorrect size or a photo of a car instead of a photo of yourself, there will be no error message and your photo will be accepted no matter what. So when you submit your application there is no way to know if your photo is correct or not. But later all applications with incorrect photos will be disqualified. Thus it is very important to know if your photo is correct before you fill in the Green card application form.

Which occupations qualify for the Diversity Visa Program (eDV)?

The Department of Labor (DOL) O*Net Online database groups job experience into five job zones. While many occupations are listed on the DOL Website, only certain specified occupations qualify for the Diversity Visa Program. To qualify for a Diversity Visa on the basis of your work experience, you must, within the past five years, have two years of experience in an occupation that is designated as Job Zone 4 or 5, classified in a Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) range of 7. 0 or higher.

How many DV-2022 visas be issued for each region and eligible country?

The number of visas that are issued to natives of each country depends on the regional limits established, how many entrants come from each country, and how many of the selected entrants are found eligible for the visa. No more than 7% of the total visas available can go to natives of any single country.

How many visas will be issued in DV-2022? How many people will become winners?

There is still no information from the U. State Department, but by law, a maximum of 55,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) are available each year. Typically around 110,000 individuals will be selected at first as the winners of the Lottery, and then about a half of them will not get the visa for some reason and eventually there will be around 55,000 visas issued.

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

In May 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced another redesign of the green card. It bears the colors of the American flag along with a green color.

USCIS said the redesign was part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project and includes even more security features. The old designs remain valid until they expire.

What Is the Easiest Way to Get a Green Card?

The easiest way to get a green card is through the U. Department of State’s Green Card Lottery. However, this is not the most likely way you’ll get a green card. Each year, the Diversity Visa Program issues 55,000 green cards. Applying is easy, but it’s best to have a backup plan in case you aren’t one of the lucky winners.

Diversity visas are available only for citizens of selected countries with a low number of immigrants to the U. in the past five years.

Use FileRight to File Your Forms Accurately the First Time

Are you having trouble determining if you are eligible to complete the paperwork required for a green card? Use FileRight to answer your questions and help you get it done quickly. FileRight’s eligibility quizzes can make it easy to determine if you can complete Forms I-130 & I-485.

Once you’ve settled on your eligibility, FileRight will guide you through the application process one question at a time, checking your application for common errors along the way. FileRight even offers you access to an immigration attorney who can provide a more thorough review of your application to ensure you’ve completed it correctly.

Get started by taking our green card qualification quiz today!

Applying for Citizenship

Once you are living in the United States with a green card for long enough and meet all other requirements, you can apply for citizenship. While both a green card and citizenship are permanent, there are added benefits to becoming a citizen.

Citizenship Is Less Expensive

It’s a requirement to renew your green card every 10 years, and each time it costs $540. If you lose or damage your green card in between, that’s another $540 each time. The cost of citizenship is a one-time fee of $725. After that, no more immigration fees for the rest of your life.

Citizenship Has More Family Benefits

Citizens can bring more relatives to the U. , and faster. There is an unlimited number of green cards for immediate relatives of U. citizens. That means their wait for a U. green card is significantly less than the relatives of a permanent resident. Citizens can also bring more relatives to the U. , including parents and siblings.

Citizens Can’t Be Deported

Citizens can travel outside the U. with a United States passport. A U. passport often makes it easier to travel to some countries visa-free than it would be for passport holders of many other nations.

Conditional Green Cards

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

Another type of green card is the conditional green card. It is mainly given to immigrants who are brought to the United States after marrying a U. citizen. These cards are only valid for two years as opposed to a legal permanent resident card that is valid for 10 years.

Conditional green cards cannot be renewed. A conditional permanent resident must apply to remove conditions using Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, 90 days before their card expires. If approved, they will be issued a 10-year green card.

It will look virtually identical to a regular 10-year green card with a couple exceptions that are shown above. A conditional resident green card will have a category number that starts with “CR. ” It will also only be valid for two years.

I Have a Green Card, But I Want to Become a U. Citizen. How Do I Know if I Qualify for Citizenship?

You might be eligible to become a U. citizen. To check your basic eligibility, you may use our U. citizenship eligibility quiz or read through the basic eligibility requirements given below:

  • You have maintained continuous residence in the U.S. for at least five years since you got your green card.
  • You have lived in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of those five years.
  • You are at least 18 years old.
  • You have continuously lived in the U.S. from when you file Form N-400 to when you become a U.S. citizen.
  • You have lived in your state or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) district for at least three months.
  • You can read, write and speak basic English.
  • You can pass a test of basic U.S. history and government questions.
  • You have a good moral character that reflects the values of the U.S. Constitution. The USCIS looks at your naturalization application, your final interview, and whether you have a criminal record to decide whether you have good moral character. People who have committed certain criminal acts can’t show good moral character.

These requirements might be different for people who are:

  • Green card holders who are married to U.S. citizens.
  • Getting citizenship through their parents.
  • In the U.S. Armed Forces or are related to a service member.

Green card holders and U. citizens receive different benefits. Knowing these differences could help you decide whether naturalizing is right for you.

Is there any fee for the DV lottery?

There is no fee for entering, but if you were selected you need to pay about $215 for medical examination and $330 for the interview per person. Also you will pay immigrant application visa fees in person only at the U. embassy or consulate at the time of the visa application. Do not send money for the DV fee to anyone through the mail, Western Union, or any other money transfer service.

Where can I verify if my DV lottery photo is correct?

As a green card holder, you can:

  • Apply for visas for your husband or wife and unmarried children to live in the United States.
  • Be eligible to receive Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or Medicare benefits.
  • Serve in certain branches of the U.S. military.
  • Be eligible for federal benefits, such as food stamps, Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. This will depend on how long you have been in the U.S. and how much money you make.
  • Travel outside of the U.S. Trips that last for less than one year are usually okay, but longer trips could hurt your green card status.

Entrant Photograph

In addition to being able to permanently live and work in the U. , lawful permanent residents enjoy many other benefits. These include:

  • Eventual ability to pursue U.S. citizenship after meeting the legal requirements
  • Additional legal rights
  • Can collect Social Security after a period of time
  • Can sponsor certain relatives for the own green card

Filing Form I-485 Application to Adjust Status

In most cases, the application for a green card for people who live in the U. is Form I-485. However, there are a few immigrants—such as those in the battered spouse or child category—that require a different form to adjust their status.

It’s essential to complete this application correctly without any mistakes because a slight error can lead to costly delays or rejections by the USCIS.

FileRight can make the paperwork process more accessible by walking you through the application step by step. For example, if you’re applying for a green card through an immediate family member who is a U. citizen, you can usually complete Form I-485 at the same time you complete Form I-130. The filing fee for Form I-485 as of May 2021 is:

  • $1,140 for a majority of applicants
  • $750 for applicants under 14 years old who are filing with one or both parents
  • Free for refugees and asylees

Applicants between ages 15 and 78 not filing as an asylee or refugee will also be charged a biometric fee of $85, which is paid simultaneously.

A Major Change in 1977

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

After struggling to prevent fraud, the Immigration and Naturalization Service designed a new green card that lost its green color and became more like a driver’s license, at least for that era! It also introduced some new anti-fraud features.

The 1977 cards included a fingerprint image and an identification number known as an A-number, or alien number. Also, the name “Alien Registration Receipt Card” was changed to Resident Alien Card.

Adding Modern Security Features

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

As better technology led to better security, the green card underwent another upgrade in 2010. For the first time in decades, it once again had a green hue to match the original cards. It also added a lot of modern security features.

This version of the card integrated Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), laser engraved fingerprints, holographic images and high-resolution micro-images of former presidents.

On top of security upgrades, the RFID made it easier for officers to identify the cardholder.


Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

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Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

What Is a Green Card?

In case you are unfamiliar with what a green card is, it is a document that proves you’re a permanent resident of the United States. With this card, you’re allowed to stay and work inside the United States.

Getting a green card is the first step to becoming a U. citizen if you were born in another country. After you have one, you can start the process of filling out Form N-400 and fulfilling all the requirements for full citizenship.

What if my trip abroad will last longer than 1 year?

If seeking to enter the United States after temporary travel abroad, you will need to present a valid, unexpired “Green Card” (Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card). When arriving at a port of entry, a U. Customs and Border Protection Officer will review your permanent resident card and any other identity documents you present, such as a passport, foreign national I. card or U. Driver’s License, and determine if you can enter the United States. For information pertaining to entry into the United States, see U. Customs and Border Protection’s webpage.

What documents do I need to travel outside the United States?

In general, you will need to present a passport from your country of citizenship or your refugee travel document to travel to a foreign country. In addition, the foreign country may have additional entry/exit requirements (such as a visa). For information on foreign entry and exit requirements, see the Department of State’s website.

How to get a Green Card through the lottery

In this section, we will describe the basic steps: from submitting an application to obtaining a Green Card.

Registration for the Green Card lottery

Taking part in the lottery is simple: complete a free online registration on the only official website. You have 60 minutes to fill out the form. If the system refuses to accept the application, try downloading it again. When registration is complete, the candidate is formally notified of participation. You cannot apply again, or you will be disqualified.

Note! Do not apply through other platforms. You run the risk of facing scammers who steal your data and money.

When to apply

So, you won the lottery. What to do after winning?

List of vaccines for immigrant visa

  • Hepatitis A;
  • Hepatitis B;
  • Flu;
  • Hemophilic fever type b (Hib);
  • Measles;
  • Meningococcal infection;
  • Piggy;
  • Pneumococcal vaccination;
  • Whooping cough;
  • Polio;
  • Rotavirus vaccination;
  • Rubella;
  • Diphtheria and tetanus;
  • Chickenpox.

Proof of funds

Your income must be at least 13,750 USD/year. You can confirm the availability of finances using:

  • Bank statements;
  • Deeds for movable and immovable property (it is not recommended to sell property before obtaining a visa, however);
  • Confirmation of sponsorship from a friend/relative who is a US citizen/permanent resident;
  • Contracts with an employer in the United States.

Green Card documents

  • Foreign passport, valid for at least 6 months by the time of the expected date of entry into the USA;
  • General civil passport;
  • Documents of education (certificate, diploma);
  • Work experience certificate (work record book);
  • Marriage certificate;
  • Military service certificates, if the candidate has served (for example, military ID);
  • Relevant certificate of criminal record;
  • Medical examination results, vaccination certificate;
  • Confirmation of financial solvency.

Full list of documents

  • Candidate’s birth certificate;
  • Two photographs in the established format;
  • A printed confirmation page for completing the DS-260 form;
  • Certificates of completion of previous marriages (divorce/death certificates, court decisions);
  • Documents for adopted children (certificates of adoption, guardian’s certificate, and others);
  • Document confirming the submission of visa documents (IV Delivery Confirmation page);
  • Certified copies of court decisions and testimonies from places of detention with translations, if the candidate had been charged with any crime (even if they were acquitted later);
  • Other documents depending on the country/individual case of the candidate and certified copies of some documents on demand.

Embassy interview

The interview is the last step in the immigration visa process. You bring all documents, including an invitation to interview and proof of payment of all required fees. The family members listed on your application must be present for the interview. They can complete this stage separately if they plan to fly to the United States later than you.

Possible reasons for refusing a US visa

  • Insufficient funds for travel and accommodation in the United States;
  • Incomplete package of documents;
  • Forged documents for obtaining a visa (in this case, you will get a lifetime entry ban);
  • Illegal stay in the United States (travel ban from 3 to 10 years);
  • Criminal history related to drugs, human trafficking, and other crimes (lifetime travel ban).

What Will Happen During Your Immigrant Interview

After your biometrics appointment is complete, the USCIS may send you a letter informing you of an interview with an immigration officer. The notice you receive will include the date, time, and location of your interview. Make sure you show up to your appointment early or on time.

At your interview, you’ll likely have to answer questions about your application. In some cases, the relative or employer who petitioned you for the green card may be called for the interview as well. It’s crucial that you bring any relevant documents to your appointment, including travel documents and passports.

Responsibilities and Benefits as a U. Citizen

As a U. citizen, you can:

  • Run for office in a public election.
  • Vote in local, state, and federal elections.
  • Apply for visas for your relatives to live in the United States. Unlike green card holders, citizens can apply for visas for their brothers and sisters. And their immediate relatives—their husbands or wives, unmarried children under age 21, and parents—don’t have to wait in line for a visa to become available.
  • Get citizenship for children born abroad.
  • Travel outside of the U.S. with a U.S. passport. Many countries won’t make you get a visa to enter if you have a U.S. passport. And you can seek protection or assistance at any U.S. embassy or consulate while abroad, using your passport as proof of your U.S. citizenship. For example, if you have a medical emergency, if your passport is lost or stolen, or if you are a victim of crime, you can get help at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • Apply for certain federal jobs—many federal agencies require applicants to be U.S. citizens.

Also, as a U. citizen, you are required to serve on a jury or in the military when called for duty.

Commuter Green Card

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the U.S

Another type of green card is used by foreign commuters. For instance, someone may live in Mexico but commute to the United States for work. These green card holders are allowed to remain legal residents while living in a foreign country if they are working in the United States.

The USCIS refers to these legal residents as Commuter Aliens. The green card is nearly identical to those given to legal permanent residents. The only difference, as shown above, is that the first two characters on the back of the card are “C2. ” The number given to legal permanent residents reads “C1

Commuter Aliens may not apply for naturalization until they establish a residence within the United States. They’re also restricted from sponsoring relatives for green cards until they move into the country.

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