US Immigration Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Green Card?
How do I obtain a Green Card?
A Green Card, officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, is
evidence of your status as a lawful permanent resident with a
right to live and work permanently in the United States. There
is NO time restriction as long as the holder is a permanent resident
in the USA.
There are several ways you can obtain a Green Card,
- Marriage to a United States citizen
- As a Special Immigrant
- Green Card Lottery (Diversity Immigrant Visa Program)
How to obtain a Green Card by Marriage
to a United States citizen.
Each year thousands of American citizens marry foreign-born persons
and petition for them to obtain permanent residence in the United
States. Spouses of U.S. citizens are considered "immediate
relatives" under the immigration laws and are exempt from
all numerical quota limitations.
You can also obtain a Green Card through the Green
Card Lottery, Investment, Employment or as a Special Immigrant.
A U.S. citizen is one step further than a U.S.
permanent resident. It is one step beyond a green card holder.
Citizenship gives you the maximum rights available in the United
States. US citizens may also find it advantageous to use a U.S.
passport when traveling abroad.
Advantages of US Citizenship
Citizens have much greater ability to sponsor relatives for U.S.
immigration. Many government contracts and jobs require U.S. citizenship.
One cannot get a voting card without becoming a citizen. Click
here to request a US Citizenship Information Kit.
- A citizen does not generally
have to reside in the U.S. By contrast, green card holders can
have their green cards cards revoked if they fail to reside
in the U.S. If you become naturalized you do not have to worry
about replacing your green card with newer versions. For example,
the INS announced the expiration of the old Green Card forms
I-551. All people in possession of the card had to apply for
replacement with a secure, machine-readable Alien Registration
Receipt Card. Citizens do not have to do this.
- Only American citizens can
obtain a U.S. passports.
- Entering the United States
- Many countries waive visa
requirements for U.S. passport holders.
With a U.S. passport, you are eligible for U.S. citizen services
from U.S. embassies and consulates when traveling throughout
- U.S. citizens do not have
to carry proof of citizenship. On the other hand, INS feels
that permanent residents must always carry their green cards.
INS has detained permanent residents who forgot to carry their
- Ability to vote. (Politicians
listen to people who can vote.)
- Immigrate other family members
to the United States
- Prevent risk of deportation.
A non-citizen can be deported for a convicted crime while a
citizen can not be deported.
- Eligibility for state and
- Ability to live outside
of the U.S. and never lose citizenship.
- The right to run for public
- No paperwork of renewing
their certificates of naturalization.
- With a U.S. passport, you
are eligible for U.S. citizen services from U.S. embassies and
consulates when traveling throughout the world.
Finally, there are intangible benefits. Most
green card holders have decided that the United States will be
the permanent home for their families. They find it of psychological
benefit to be on equal footing with their American peers. This
is important for school age children who are very much concerned
with their identity.