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What is a Green Card?
If you do not have a claim to United States citizenship, you must acquire a visa in order to legally work and live in the United States. There are two categories of visas – immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas. An immigrant visa, or what is commonly called a Green Card, will give you permanent resident status.
A permanent resident is provided equal protection under the United States Constitution and thus has virtually all the same rights as a United States citizen. There are some exceptions to this rule, including the fact that a permanent resident is not permitted to vote. Also, a permanent resident may only sponsor a spouse and unmarried children for permanent resident status while a citizen may sponsor a spouse, parents, married and unmarried children and siblings.
If you possess a Green Card you may reside in the United States indefinitely provided you do not abandon your status or commit an act that would classify you as a deportable or excludable alien. Lastly, as a permanent resident you have the option of becoming a United States citizen 5 years after acquiring your green card; or just 3 years if you acquired your status through marriage to a citizen.
Ultimately, someone seeking to live in the United States should attempt to acquire a Green Card. With this in mind there are a number of options. The conventional methods permit an alien to acquire a Green Card through employment, an investment or a family member within the United States. A less conventional method, the Green Card Lottery, should also be considered.
If you would like to explore your specific green card options please send a request to us at: