GREEN CARDS   Lawful Permanent Residence in USA

Although no longer green, green cards are the document that proves you are a lawful permanent resident in the United States, allowed to live and work here.  (Other forms of proof could be a stamp in your passport or on a CIS issued paper.)  If you have been granted that status by the Citizenship and Immigration Service, you can reside in the U.S. forever, unless you become inadmissible by committing a wrongful act such as some crimes, terrorist acts, divorce during conditional residency, or one of many other inadmissible acts. 

Lately, the main reason aliens are losing their green cards is because they are not truly living in the U.S. but are living abroad, returning to the U.S. only to visit once or twice a year.  The purpose of permanent residence in the U.S. is to live in the United States, not abroad. Unless you have exceptional circumstances that keep you abroad (school, employment, etc.) you should not be outside of the U.S. for more than six months at any one time.  You must maintain a residence in the U.S. in all cases.  You can get special permission to live abroad for longer periods of time if needed.

How do you get a GREEN CARD, lawful permanent residence? There are some basic ways, with many exceptions along the way. The most common way is through a relative who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or through employment, asylum, religious work, investments, fame and even through relief from removal proceedings.  For more information on click on each of these options at the right.

To read more about the history of green cards, click HISTORY. To see the acronyms used by immigration officers and practitioners, click ACRONYMS.

To learn about the terms used in Immigration matters, click TERMS.

ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS

MARRIAGE

Other RELATIVES

AFFIDAVIT of SUPPORT

NACARA

ADOPTION

EMPLOYMENT

ASYLUM

LOTTERY

RELIGIOUS WORKER

PROFESSOR/RESEARCHER

INVESTMENT

ATHLETE/ENTERTAINER

REMOVAL CANCELLATION

VAWA

Special Immigrants