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What is a Permanent Resident Card (“Green Card”)?


A “Green Card” is officially known as a Permanent Resident Card. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it “allows you to live and work permanently in the United States.”

Contrary to popular belief, most Green Cards have an expiration date. Unless the Green Card was issued between 1964 to 1989, the Green Card will expire within TEN (10) years even though it can be renewed indefinitely.

Who is eligible to apply for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Status or a Green Card?

As of 08/03/2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) lists 8 categories that will allow a person to apply for permanent resident status. The link can be found here: https://www.uscis.gov/greencard/eligibility-categories.

Family-based visas

  • U.S. citizens can file for their spouse, children, stepchildren, siblings, or parents

  • Permanent Residents can file for their spouse, children, stepchildren, or siblings (no parents)

  • In very specific instances, grandparents or adopted parents may be petitioned

Employment-based visas (Merit-based on experience or education)

  • First Preference (Extraordinary ability, Outstanding Professor/Researcher/Multinational Manager/Executive)

  • Second Preference (Advance degrees, i.e. Master’s degree)

  • Third Preference (no experience, experience, or 4-year degree requirements)

  • Physician National Interest Waiver (NIV)

  • Immigrant Investor (EB-5)

Special Immigration Classification

  • Religious Worker

  • Special Immigrant Juvenile

  • Afghanistan or Iraq National

  • International Broadcaster

  • Employee of an International Organization or Family Member or NATO-6 Employee/Family Member

Refugee/Asylee Classification (Well-founded fear of persecution)

  • If you were granted asylum at least 1 year ago

  • If you were admitted as a refugee at least 1 year ago

Human Trafficking & Crime Victims (T & U Visas)

  1. Victims of Abuse (Violence Against Women Act, Human Trafficking Victims, and Victims of Other Crimes)

  • Abused spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident

  • Special Immigrant Juvenile (Please note: Our office does not handle SIJ cases, but can refer potential clients to a non-profit organization that will handle the case free of charge).

  1. Registry

  • Foreign nationals that have continuously resided in the U.S. before January 1, 1972.

  1. Other

  • Please visit the USCIS for other specific categories that are eligible for permanent residency.

For more information on obtaining a Green Card in the United States, a free consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (281) 777-1236 today.

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