What is a Green Card & how do I get one?

What is a Green Card & how do I get one?

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Connie Kaplan

A green card, known officially as a Permanent Resident Card, is issued by USCIS under the Immigration and Nationality Act as evidence that you have been given the privilege to reside and work within the United States. While America is a melting pot, it has only 13.2 million green card holders out of a population of 328.2 million people – that is only 4.02 % of the country’s population.

Having a green card allows countless privileges; however, as a resident of the United States, it is imperative to follow the rules.

Living in America as a resident does not mean you can truly be here permanently. Having a green card is no guarantee to remaining in the U.S. as you can get deported if you do not remain a law-abiding resident in the U.S., so know your rights and their limits.

As a foreigner, there are countless ways to get a green card to make the U.S. your home. The applications are decided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS.

Applying for a green card is different for everyone and it varies for many reasons.  We have not yet seen two cases that are the same; therefore, we recommend you consult with an attorney before applying. Your case will not be the same as your cousin 10 years ago, your friend yesterday, or even your twin brother.  We do not want you to apply for a benefit that may get denied, or worse, that may land you in deportation.

The following are some ways to petition for green card in the United states:

Family-Based Green Card

You can be petitioned by close relative such as spouse (and widows and widowers), children, parent, or sibling. Distant relatives such as grandparents and cousins do not qualify.

Employment-Based Green Card

Can be acquired through employment in the United states. There are many categories such as

    • First Preference (EB-1) priority workers with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics
    • Second Preference (EB-2) members of the professions holding advanced degrees or who have exceptional ability
    • Third preference (EB-3) Skilled workers, professionals, or other workers.

Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

Is sometimes known as the Green Card Lottery; to apply one must be born in an eligible country, and if selected, the applicant must have completed a high school education or at least 2 years work experience in an occupation.


If you applied for asylum from within the United States and your application is approved, then you can apply for a green card.


If you invest in a business in the United States, you may have the option of getting a green card.

Finding the right way to petition for your specific case can take some time for review and research to determine which one would work best for your specific case. Give us a call to determine your options or book a consultation on our home page.

More from Green Cards, Immigration Reform, USCIS, Visa Waiver Program, Work Visa

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