What is a Green Card: Everything You Need to Know

A green card is a document that allows a foreigner to reside permanently in the United States of America. Its official name is the US Permanent Resident Card.

If you are someone who aspires to live in the USA one day, understanding what a green card is can help a lot in this process, and make it easier to understand and acquire which type of visa suits your profile.

In this article, we'll decipher what a green card is and answer your main questions about this type of visa.

What is a green card?

The Green Card is a document that approves a permanent residence permit for a person who lives or intends to live in the United States, and is one of several types of American visas.

This type not only allows permanent residence, but also offers access to certain benefits, such as medical assistance and other benefits. Despite its name as permanent, this document is not for life, as it will need to be renewed every 10 years.

The document's main function is to make a foreigner's residence in the USA legal, which does not affect the person's original citizenship.

How do I get a green card?

There are several ways to get a green card, the main ones are:


In this option, the immigrant needs to marry another person who already has a permanent green card or American citizenship. This is one of the quickest ways to get a green card, but the other party must have a permanent green card, be an American or have American citizenship.

On getting married, the immigrant already receives a permanent American green card, which lasts for two years. When the two years are up and the marriage is still active, the immigrant receives a permanent green card.


If you have parents, children or siblings who have a US green card or US citizenship, they can apply for you to gain access.

This process is quicker when the children apply for the father, which can take an average of 6 months. If parents or siblings apply for their children or siblings, this can take between 5 and 10 years.


In this case, the immigrant would first have to obtain an Eb-5 visa. Anyone with between USD 500,000.00 and USD 1,000,000.00 can open a company in the USA and create 10 new jobs.

If this company is located in an area that is encouraged, such as a rural area, for example, where the demand for jobs is higher, the amount requested is lower, if it is in an area that is not encouraged, this amount goes up.


This way of obtaining a green card is coordinated directly by the US State Department, whose main objective is to offer permanent residence to certain immigrants who meet certain requirements.

The main objective is to further diversify the American population, which is why it is common for countries with low immigration rates to take part in the lottery.

This lottery is held annually, and in 2020 around 55,000 permanent residence cards were drawn in a lottery format.

Are a green card and US citizenship the same thing?

Although it may seem like it, an American green card visa is not the same thing as American citizenship.


When you get a green card and a permanent residence permit in the USA, you are entitled to most of the rights and obligations of American citizens, except the right to vote, which is only granted to American citizens.


American citizens can also leave the United States and stay as long as they like, while those who only have permanent residency need to notify immigration when they are leaving the country, and it is not recommended to leave for more than six months in any one year.


If you have US citizenship, you can apply for a green card for direct relatives, such as children, husbands, wives and parents. Those who only have a green card can do this, but the process takes much longer.

The differences between the two are not very great, but it is important to assess your objectives when applying for American citizenship.

Understanding what a green card is will make your immigration process to the USA much easier. If you are interested in applying for a green card, look for qualified immigration professionals so that you can keep up to date with the requirements and speed up the process.

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