A Green Card entitles its holder to permanently live and work in the USA. As an official ID document, the popular immigrant visa also gives the Green Card owner almost all the rights of a US citizen.
Definition of the Green Card
The US Green Card is officially called Lawful Permanent Resident Card or Form I-551. Anyone who obtains the highly sought-after US immigrant visa – whether through the Green Card Lottery or one of the alternative application processes – is granted unrestricted work and residence authorization for the United States of America.
When communicating with the issuing authority, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a new Green Card candidate is initially called “Applicant” or “Beneficiary”. Lawful holders of a Green Card are also referred to as “Lawful Permanent Residents” or “LPR”.
After a successful Green Card application process, the Green Card enables USA fans to freely choose their place of work and residence, to enter and leave the country easily, to study in the USA at a much lower cost, and to acquire additional benefits after a few years as a Green Card holder.
Green Card: US immigration made easy
Unlike other US visas, the Green Card is the only sustainable way to move to America. This is due to the lifetime validity of a Lawful Permanent Residence.
The history of the Green Card
The USA has always been an immigration country par excellence. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, immigration to the United States was still unregulated – America was open to immigrants from anywhere in the world in unlimited numbers.
After the American Civil War, the U.S. Supreme Court introduced the first innovations. Later, the “U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service” (INS for short) was established in 1933.
The foundation for today’s Green Card was laid during World War II: In 1940, the US Congress passed the Alien Registration Act, which established the first concrete rules for immigrating to the United States.
One of the first decisions was to inspect all immigrants entering the United States and issue them an ID card. The document issued was then called “Alien Card” or “Alien Registration Receipt Card” and was actually bright green. This is how the nickname “Green Card” came about.
In 2003, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was renamed “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.” USCIS still issues the Green Cards today.
After the Green Card was produced in changing colors for a few years (first yellow, then pink, then purple-blue), the US government decided in 2010 to go back to a green design.
What does a Green Card look like?
USCIS numbers are uniquely assigned sequential numbers.
The visa category describes the way one’s received Green Card, e.g. “DV1” for the Green Card Lottery or “CR1” for conditional residents, whose Green Card is subject to a time limit.
Country of birth
Date of birth
Photo of the Green Card holder
On the back of the Green Card:
Another photo of the Green Card holder
A three-line machine-readable code (as on a passport)
One of the latest changes designed to increase the security of the Green Card was a hologram next to the photo instead of the signature.
The advantages of a Green Card
Owning a US Green Card gives its holder nearly all rights equal to those of a US citizen. These include:
Unlimited residency in the US
Unlimited work permit in the USA
Unlimited and easy entry and exit without a visa or ESTA
Eligibility for Medicare benefits and other government assistance after 5 years as a Green Card holder
The right to study at a US university without risk and up to 80 % cheaper than without a Green Card
The possibility of federal loans for students
Crisis security: Green Card holders are usually not affected by travel embargoes.
Uncomplicated obtaining of business and commercial licenses
Family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) are automatically eligible for a Green Card as well.
Application for US citizenship is possible after 3 or 5 years as a Green Card holder.
How to get a Green Card?
The US Green Card can only be obtained:
Through a job in the USA
For a family reunion with US relatives
By winning the Green Card Lottery
Through a large investment in a US company
For most people, the Green Card Lottery is the only chance to live a carefree life in America, because it is very difficult for foreigners to get a permanent job in the USA.
In the Green Card Lottery, the US authorities raffle 55,000 Green Cards worldwide every year. The chances of winning are excellent, but many participants are eliminated from the lottery because they do not submit their applications precisely in the specified format. Even the smallest errors will result in disqualification by US authorities.
Another problem is that a disqualified Green Card applicant is not informed by the US government that he or she has been disqualified – let alone why. As a result, many Green Card Lottery participants make the same mistakes year after year and don’t even realize it.
For this reason, it is recommended to consult an expert. With The American Dream’s government-licensed immigration consultants, Green Card applicants are protected from disqualification thanks to the double application review and personalized assistance service
How to apply for a Green Card?
Relatives in the United States?
Special skills that could make invaluable to an employer in the United States?
The eligibility requirements for the Green Card Lottery?
If the answer is “yes” to one or more of these questions, then nothing will get in the way (except the paperwork, of course).
Winning a Green Card in the Green Card Lottery
The Green Card Lottery (also called the DV Lottery or Diversity Visa Lottery) is the easiest way for most people to get a Green Card.
With its very low entry requirements, the lottery brings 55,000 participants from around the world to the US every year.
Do Green Card holders have to immigrate?
The purpose of the Green Card is for a person to permanently relocate their center of life to the USA. However, when the American dream suddenly comes true, there are many things to do. The US authorities have an understanding of this and give Green Card winners enough time to shift their lives to the United States bit by bit.
Especially in the first few years, commuting between the US and the home country is usually not a problem. However, as a Green Card holder, EV everyone must keep in mind that are not allowed to stay outside the USA for more than 12 months (or 24 months upon application) at a time – otherwise Green Card rights may be taken away.
Most Green Card winners decide to relocate permanently after four to five years at the latest.
How long is a Green Card valid?
The physical Green Card as an identity document only has a term of ten years and must be renewed in time.
Need to initiate the renewal process no later than 6 months prior to the expiration of the Green Card via USCIS Form I-90.
There are circumstances that may cause Green Card validity to expire. These are, for example:
Being outside the US for more than 364 days at a time without prior application
Becoming a US citizen
Returning Green Card to a US consulate or USCIS Service Center (including official return documents)
Committing serious criminal acts
Missing revocation deadlines (e.g. on conditional Green Cards for newly married immigrants or investors)
Violating immigration law
We are a private company and provide additional services to those who wish to guarantee the participation of the lottery. Services such as: photo processing to comply with the requirements of the official Green Card Lottery, verification of entered data, saving registration and others. It is for these services that the company takes payment. The official website does not provide additional services, so they are free.