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What Is a Green Card?

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What Is a Green Card?

A green card or permanent visa allows a person to live and work permanently in the U.S. after migrating from another country. Not all immigrants are eligible for permanent residency in the United States, as green cards are typically issued in relation to certain types of immigration pathways. These include marriage visas, family member visas, and certain types of work visas.

How Is a Green Card Obtained?

Green cards generally require several steps. Most pathways include obtaining a sponsor who will petition the applicant for travel to the United States. This sponsor can be a relative, spouse, employer, or other person with some connection to the immigrant who is seeking the green card. Next, the person applying for the card will need to cooperate with their sponsor and apply at the U.S. embassy or consular office in their home country. This can involve an extensive application that includes many forms, legal and medical documents, fees, and account statements, among other things.

What Does Admissibility Mean in Relation to Green Card Applications?

Lastly, the person will need to be evaluated in terms of various admissibility requirements. These include issues such as:

  • Whether the person has mental/emotional/physical disorders
  • Past convictions of crimes, as many different crimes can disqualify a person for green card eligibility
  • Past instances of deportation/removal or bans on reentry
  • Whether the person might become a “public charge," meaning that they will end up creating various problems for the community or becoming dependent on public welfare

Thus, green card status is generally granted to migrants who have a good behavior record and who have the potential to become independent contributors to their community and to the economy.

Should I Hire a Lawyer to Help Me with a Green Card Application?

Green card applications can often be perplexing due to the sheer amount of requirements involved. You may need to hire an immigration lawyer if you or a loved one of yours needs assistance with any type of immigration requirements. Your attorney can help ensure that all the requirements are being met. The process can take a long time, but the assistance of a lawyer can help ensure that you do not experience any delays due to an error. Also, if you need to attend an immigration hearing or meeting, your lawyer can provide representation during the process.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 07-18-2017 11:56 AM PDT

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