For the many millions of non-Americans who live within the United States of America, their opportunity to live here often comes via a US Green Card. The Green Card is the system used to give non-US citizens the chance to live permanently within the United States. It is the perfect way for you to move to America, and to become a permanent part of the USA in terms of citizenship.
The Green Card was first brought into the United States in the year 1940, as part of the Alien Registration Act. It meant that all non-US citizens would have to register with the government. Anyone aged 14 or older would need to report to a US postal office to have their fingers printed and their presence ‘registered’. Since then, the system has changed, developed, and evolved to become a very different system: today, there is far more involved.
Many forms of Green Card have existed since that first edition, right up to the modern commuter Green Cards. It has changed numerous times over the year, as well. Today, a Green Card will generally get you the right to live and access the United States as if you were a natural citizen. While it’s not the same as having full US citizenship, it’s the only step below.
Who Needs a Green Card?
Anyone who wishes to move and live within the USA for the long-term will need a Green Card. If you would like to take up permanent residence within the nation, you would be expected to apply for a Green Card. If you intend on living in the USA without being tethered or tied to a job, an investment, or an education agreement, then you would need a Green Card. Most other forms of visa to get you into the country have specific requirements that you must meet if you intend to stay.
The big difference between a Green Card and a visa, then, is the length and the quality of agreement. A Green Card is a permanent form of residence that means you can stay there for as long as you want, live wherever you wish, and take up jobs (or make investments) with whoever you want. By all intents and purposes, you are a US citizen. A visa is often stuck to a specific agreement, and limits what you can do, where you can live, and what opportunities are open to you in terms of employment and entrepreneurial investment.
What are Some of the Benefits of a Green Card?
- You can live and reside anywhere you want in the United States for the rest of your life.
- You can also apply for government jobs and just about any other kind of job.
- You become eligible for a wide-reaching range of health and education benefits.
- It becomes easier to petition for your wife/children to have their own Green Cards.
- You do not have to lose citizenship from your native country: that remains.
However, you could lose your Green Card if you violate laws, commit crimes, or fail to keep the US Government aware of anything that, if undeclared, would make you eligible for deportation.
Also, please note that a Green Card must be renewed once every decade. You won’t lose your Green Card rights: just the card itself. All it takes is a basic renewal. However, failing to renew your card could mean running risk of deportation – it must be renewed as, after a certain period of time, it could then become invalid without renewal. So, make sure that you stay on top of the dates at which your card has to be renewed and replaced.
Getting a Green Card
Getting a Green Card is simple: you could apply via the Green Card lottery (if your nation produces a historical low level of immigration into the USA), or you could apply via an immigration service.
You will have to fill in an immigration application form, and then wait for acceptance, as well as attend citizenship interviews. If you live abroad presently, these interviews may take place at your local embassy. However, getting a Green Card is often easiest when you utilize professional immigration and Green Card planning services.
Whatever your choice is, you should find it easy enough to start applying for a Green Card if you use an immigration service. Whether it’s through the lottery or through a normal application, you can apply and join the many non-US citizens who have moved here since the Green Card system came to be in 1940.