The Requirements for a Green Card

A green card is an identification card that signifies the permanent residency in the USA of a person from another country. To get a green card, there are specific immigration laws that you have to check into because there is only a certain amount of immigrants that can apply per year. There are also different categories, which you can apply for to get into the country.

1. Types of Visa - Getting into the country has different categories. So when filing out your visa application, you have to be aware of what you can apply for. There is a student visa, business visa, a tourist visa and an immigrant visa. The student, business and tourist visas are only valid for a certain amount of time and can either be invalid at a certain date, or be renewed, depending on the nature of the situation. Since the focus here is the green card, what you need is the immigrant visa, which allows you enough time to stay in the United States until you finish all the necessary documents to be able to become a permanent resident there.

2. Application - To apply, you have to check for the necessary information at the immigration department. There are different conditions in which you can apply, like family based immigration, employment-based immigration, diversity immigration, refugees, asylees (persons granted asylum), registry, battered spouses, and crime victims and victims of trafficking. Each one of these has specific requirements to be able to apply for them.

  • Family based immigration - This can actually be narrowed down to some more specific categories such as: through a close family member, through marriage or through adoption. The most common would be through a close family member, and there are certain guidelines to follow on how many can apply at a time. There are too many people who apply to enter the United States every year so there is a long waiting list and it may take years before the process is completed. Marriage immigration, on the other hand, allows a US citizen to bring his or her spouse and their children into the United States. Of course there are guidelines. There is a different visa that the spouse should apply for, and a different one for the children as well.
  • Employment based immigration - People who qualify under this category are people who have exemplary performance in a certain field, or are currently needed in the country. Some sub-categories have other specifications, so it is highly advised to read further on the ones that you are qualified for. You will have to have a work permit ready as part of the documents they need to see.
  • Diversity immigration - This type is known as the "Green Card Lottery" because it picks applicants at random per year in almost all countries, depending on how many immigrants the country have sent within a set number of years. There are online applications, so there is a high tendency of scams or frauds, so be extra cautious.

3. Renewal - Depending on your immigration status, there would be different requirements for when you need to renew your green card. Make sure that you renew your card at least six months ahead of time.

Applying for a green card is a very tedious task, and has so many rules to follow. You have more than one option in immigrating to the US so make sure that you are applying for the right one. Make sure that you fully understand all the requirements because once you neglect a requirement, some may require you to start over, so be careful and critical so that it is not a waste of time and money on your part and the Embassy's part.


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