A ‘green card’, issued by the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), grants lawful permanent resident status with authorization to live and work throughout the United States. Most green cards are renewed every ten years, but some marriage or investment-based green cards have to become permanent after two years.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the United States Department of State (DHS), is the government agency that administers legal immigration to the United States. USCIS is responsible for approving green cards, work permits, travel permits, and other ‘immigration benefits’.
A lawful permanent resident, as green card holders are known, is an alien who has permission to live and work in the United States, sponsor relatives to obtain their own green cards, and apply for United States citizenship.
A conditional green card is valid for only two years and has the designation “CR1” printed on the card meaning “conditional resident.” A holder of a conditional green card must file Form I-751 to “withdraw the conditions” and obtain a permanent green card. In most cases, a conditional green card is issued to a spouse who has been married for less than two years when the green card is approved. Learn more here.
The green card can be denied for a number of reasons, including errors in required forms, missing documents, insufficient financial resources, or ineligibility. Learn more here.
Anyone who has a valid work visa (for example the H-1B or L-1 visa) can generally continue working while applying for the green card. Otherwise, applicants are not allowed to work within the United States until they obtain a work permit by filing Form I-765. Learn more here.
The visa bulletin, published each month by the United States Department of State, announces which green card applications can go ahead, based on when the I-130 petition was initially filed. The visa bulletin exists because Congress limits the number of green cards that can be issued each year in certain categories and this has created several backlogs. Learn more here.
During a biometric screening, a government official records fingerprints and takes photos for the purpose of discovering in government files if the applicant has committed any serious crimes or previous immigrant violations. The biometric appointment is generally short and simple. Learn more here.