What is a Green Card?


Although a green card is similar in appearance and size to a driver’s license, this special document provides much more important rights to immigrants. It provides legal status for an immigrant to be in the United States. While a green card does not give a person full citizenship status, it does get this person one step closer to full citizenship.

Acquiring a Green Card

A person may acquire a green card through a variety of methods. An employer may offer a person a full-time job in the United States which may qualify him or her for a green card. Being engaged or married to an American citizen may also qualify a person for permanent residency. Some individuals acquire this status through family members who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Political reasons provide another basis for qualification. A person may seek asylum due to dangerous conditions in his or her country or if he or she is a victim of certain crimes. Other applicants qualify because they are health care providers, religious workers or military or government officials.

Benefits of Having a Green Card

In addition to living legally in this country, a permanent resident acquires other rights. He is legally eligible for employment. Within a few years, the permanent resident can also apply for citizenship. In addition, he has the right to visit his country of origin without any restrictions being imposed on him.

Responsibilities of Permanent Residents

Acquiring a green card also signifies that the person accepts specific responsibilities, including agreeing to obey all American laws. A person who has permanent residency may still be deported from the country if he is convicted of certain crimes. Green card holders must also pay income taxes. Males who are 18 to 25 years old must register with the Selective Service.

Conditional Green Cards

Some green cards are granted on a conditional basis for the first two years. An applicant who has a conditional card can apply within 90 days of the card’s date of expiration to make the card permanent. In many cases, the government approves the application. However, a person may be denied if he or she has violated the law or any terms of the green card.

Assistance From an Immigration Lawyer

Immigration laws are often complex and complicated. Each immigration case is often based on a unique set of circumstances. An immigration attorney can assist individuals who would like to acquire permanent resident status. He or she can review each basis that a person has for this status.

To learn more about getting a green card, dial 713-877-9400 to get a free consultation from Mario Madrid.

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