Green Card Law

Green card law is the body of law that governs the rules for obtaining a green card and the rights of immigrants in the United States. The term “green card” is used to refer to two different documents: a physical card itself, which is known as a Permanent Resident Card (also called a Green Card); and the document that grants permanent residence status to people who are not citizens of the United States, but have been authorized to live and work there indefinitely.

If you want to live in America permanently, you can apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside of the United States. You’ll need to have an approved petition filed on your behalf by a qualifying relative or employer, meet all other eligibility requirements and pay fees to file this application. Some applicants may also need to undergo health screenings or be interviewed before receiving their visas.

Once you’re approved for an immigrant visa, you’ll be notified by mail with instructions about what steps you need to take next — such as attending an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate — before being granted permission to enter the United States permanently.

If you’re already in the United States, you can apply for permanent residence through a process known as adjustment of status. You’ll need to file an application with USCIS and pay fees to do this. It’s important to note that if you’re applying for an immigrant visa at one of the U.S. embassies or consulates outside the country, your application will be processed first — and then any benefits associated with it will be considered when adjudicating your adjustment of status request.

The process for obtaining permanent residence through an adjustment of status application is similar to that for applying for a visa abroad. You’ll need to file forms with USCIS and pay fees. You may also be required to provide additional documentation or information as part of your application.

If you’re applying for permanent residence through adjustment of status, you’ll need to provide proof of your eligibility. This may include an I-130 petition approval notice, a copy of your visa stamp in your passport showing that you entered the U.S., or evidence that you were inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the port of entry into the country.

If you’re applying for permanent residence through naturalization, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. For example, you must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen for five years after taking the oath of allegiance to become a citizen. You may also need to provide evidence that you’ve continuously lived in the U.S. as a legal permanent resident for those five years; however, this requirement may be waived if your absence from the country was brief or temporary (for example, due to military service).

You’ll also need to provide documents that prove your identity, such as a birth certificate or passport. You may be asked to provide additional evidence of your citizenship if you’ve been convicted of certain crimes or have spent time in prison.

Green Card Allows You To

A green card is a document that allows a person to live and work in the United States. A green card holder is also known as an alien with permanent residence status, or a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).

In most cases, an LPR is eligible for naturalization and can apply for U.S. citizenship after living in the United States for five years. Legal Permanent Residents can also apply for a U.S. passport to travel outside the country with their green card.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues green cards to legal permanent residents. You can apply for an LPR if:

  • You are eligible for another immigrant visa category but choose this option instead of waiting in line
  • You have a family member who is a U.S. citizen or LPR and petitioned on your behalf
  • You are eligible for adjustment of status based on a family member’s prior approval of an immigrant visa petition
  • You are the child of a U.S. citizen and your parent has filed an immigrant visa petition on your behalf
  • You have abused a visa or immigration status in the past but have “good moral character” and can prove it

How To Apply For A Green Card?

You must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This is the first step in applying for your Green Card. You can file this form either before or after you enter the United States, but it is recommended that you wait until after you have entered the country so that USCIS has all of your information from your arrival at the border or airport.

Once you have filed Form I-485, USCIS will notify you of your biometrics appointment. You must bring your passport, photos and any other documents that may be required at this interview. If you are already in the US and have not been fingerprinted before, you will need to go to a local USCIS office and get them done there.

A biometrics appointment will be scheduled for you at a local USCIS office. You must bring your passport, photos and any other documents that may be required at this interview.


If you want to become a U.S. citizen, the process can be complex but is well worth it. Citizenship provides many benefits and offers a lifetime of opportunity in this great country. If you’re interested in applying for naturalization, contact an immigration attorney today so that they can help guide you through the process.

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