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Green Card FAQ


1.  What is a Green Card?

A Green Card refers to the document received showing that he is a lawful permanent resident of the United States.  A green card is an identification card indicating that the person is a permanent resident.  It is referred to as a green card by many because of was green in color when first issued during the 1940’s through 1964. A green card is issues by the USCIS the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  The (USCIS) refers to a green card officially as an I-551 or Permanent Resident Card (PRC).

2. What are some of the way I can receive a Permanent Green Card?

There are several ways once can receive permanent residence status via a green card.
  • Immigration through Family-Sponsoring:  There are several types of legal immigration and permanent residence status through family relationships.  Two of the most prevalent are,  IR: Immediate Relative  F1: Unmarried children over the Age of 21.
  • Immigration and permanent residence  by employment
  • Immigration and permanent residence by investments in the United States
  • Permanent Residence by Lottery
  • Via Refugee or Asylum status
  • Special Immigration Status
Obtaining a green card can be an arduous process.  If you have any legal questions you can speak with a Green Card Immigration Law attorney we are here to help you in any immigration law question you may have. For a free consultation call (888) 649-7166

3.  I have submitted my application and been approved; How long does it take to receive the physical card?

Once you have been approved for permanent residence it usually take several weeks and up to 2-3 months to receive the actual green card.  In the meantime you will be issued an I-551 stamp on your passport showing that you are in the United States legally. The actual green card will be mailed to you.

4.  What are the my rights and duties under a green card permanent (ie law full permanent residence status)

A green card gives you legal right to live and work in the U.S. permanently. You are able to apply for many federal and state government employments (some are reserved for citizens). Green card holders also receive health, education, and other benefits. You can also petition for your spouse and unmarried children to receive their own green cards, though they will be classified as “preference relatives,” and due to annual limits on such visas, have to wait in line until a visa is available. You are able to keep your present citizenship in your native country, and you may apply for U.S. citizenship at a later time. That time period is five years for most green card holders, but three years for people who were married to and living with a U.S. citizen the entire time. Green card holder can lose their status as permanent residence. For example, if the individual commits a crime or violates a law, willfully fails to advise USCIS of changes of address, or is in any way in violation of Section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.).

5.  Does my green card expire? And what does it mean if it expires?

Yes;  green card expire every ten years.  However this does not mean that your legal status as a permanent residence has expired.  You must however renew the card before its expiration, if not you may run the risk of violating residence status in the US.

6.  What is a Green Card Lottery?   [Diversity Immigrant Visa]

A green Card Lottery or Diversity Immigration Visa  lottery system in which foreign nationals are able to receive a Permanent Residence statute, (ie Green Card).   This allows for up to 55,000 permanent Visas, and is given to nationals of countries that have relatively low immigration rates to the United States.   The list is drawn up by country of birth instead of country of citizenship.   Some key points that one should be aware of are written below.
  • Once you “win” the lottery you must redeem or “activate” the immigration visa within 6 months
  • Once activated the “green card” typically arrives by mail within a few months.
  • If you are born in any nation that has sent greater than 50,000 immigrants to the US in the last five year you are not eligible.

7.  Please describes the application process for an employment-based green card visa?

There is a detailed three step process that has to be followed in order to obtain an employer based visa to the United States.
  • Immigration petition:  an immigration petition must be filed by the employer.  Here the employer must provide for a labor Certification in order to legally prove that it has a need to employ the foreign person for a specific job.
  • Once approved the employer must file on behalf of the employee an application form I-140, Immigration Petition for Alien Worker.  Usually this process may take as long as 6 months.

8.  Where do I go if I need to get help?

Immigration law in the US and the procedures of immigration can be a highly complication process. Often qualified immigration attorneys are needed to avoid the many pitfalls which may take place.  Employment visa lawyers and Permanent Green Card lawyers at Downtown LA Law are here to help.  If you an employer or a family of a person that intends to immigrate to the US and you require California Immigration lawyers feel free to contact us for a free consultation.  Our attorneys in immigration are here to help.

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