Do you truly understand what a Green Card is? What purpose does it serve? How can one obtain it?
The Green Card, contrary to common misconceptions, is a document that grants immigrants the ability to reside and work legally in the United States. It functions as an identification document for foreigners residing in the U.S, in addition to serving as a travel document like a visa.
The holder of a Green Card, officially known as a US Permanent Resident Card, is authorized, upon obtaining it, to permanently reside and work in the United States. Proof of this status is the issuance of a permanent residence card, namely the Green Card.
There are various ways to acquire a Green Card, such as:
• Having close relatives with U.S. citizenship.
• Employment-based visa for skilled professionals.
• Investment in the United States.
It is worth noting that if the Green Card holder is married and/or has children under the age of 21, the right to permanent residency extends to them as well. Children born abroad to a Lawful Permanent Resident mother are allowed to travel to the United States without needing a visa if the birth occurs during the mother's temporary visit abroad. Therefore, it is important for the Green Card holder to be aware that if they leave the United States for any reason, they can only stay outside the country for a period of up to 6 months. If they remain outside the country for a longer period, they risk losing their Green Card status, which can be revoked by U.S. authorities.
With this document in hand, Lawful Permanent Residents enjoy the same rights as U.S. citizens, such as the right to work in any region of the United States, access to healthcare, education, enlistment in the armed forces, and other benefits. However, Green Card holders are not allowed to run for public office, vote in U.S. elections, or stay outside the United States for more than 1 year at a time.
Finally, if a permanent resident can demonstrate that they have resided in the country for at least 5 years, they have the right to apply for U.S. citizenship if they are in compliance with their obligations to the U.S. government.