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Green Card Overview
If you are not yet a United States Permanent Resident, it is recommended to apply for a Green Card. The Green Card Application Guide can help you understand the application process and assist you in correctly filling out your application. Individuals applying for a Green Card usually have to go through a three-step process that may take several years depending on immigrant category type and the applicant's country of birth. Green Cards, or Permanent Resident Cards, serve as proof that the bearer has permission to conditionally reside and seek employment in the United States.
A Green Card can be taken away if the bearer does not abide by U.S. laws. As thoroughly explained in the Green Card Information Guide, Green Card holders must adhere to certain rules and regulations such as maintaining resident status by residing in the United States. Green Cards must remain in the possession of the U.S. permanent resident at all times and Green Card holders should be able to prepared to show their card to a USCIS officer, if requested. Conditions that can cause someone to lose their permanent resident status include situations in which the Green Card holder abandons their status by moving to another country to live there permanently, or if a Green Card holder stays outside of the U.S. for more than 365 days without having obtained a re-entry permit before leaving the country. In addition, not filing an income tax return could also be punishable by losing permanent resident status.
There are several ways to apply for a Green Card, including:
- Green Card through Marriage
- Green Card through Relatives
- Green Card through Employment
- Green Card through Investment
- Green Card through Adoption
- Green Card as a Special Immigrant
Before a Green Card holder can apply for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process, he or she needs to fulfill a residency requirement. The time spent abroad does not count towards this requirement. Green Card holders staying abroad for lengthy periods may disrupt their residency, since the time spent abroad does not count towards the residency requirement for naturalization. However, it is possible to submit an "Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes". Detailed information and application procedures can be found in the Green Card Information Guide.
For additional information about Green Cards, please check out these helpful links: