Get a Green Card
What is a Green Card?
A “green card” which is a United States Permanent Resident Card, grants authorization to non-U.S. citizen to legally live in the United States for an indefinite period of time. You can become a permanent resident several different ways. Most individuals are sponsored by a family member or employer in the United States.
Other individuals may become permanent residents through refugee or asylee status or other humanitarian programs. In some cases, you may be eligible to file for yourself. It’s not the same as becoming a U.S. citizen, which involves the more rigorous process of naturalization and grants certain rights
Green Card Eligibility
Green cards are available to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens; certain highly skilled workers; refugees and asylum seekers; certain long-time residents; and others meeting specific criteria. To meet the requirements for permanent residence in the United States, you must:
- Be eligible for one of the immigrant categories established in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
- Have a qualifying immigrant petition filed and approved for you (with a few exceptions)
- Have an immigrant visa immediately available
- Be admissible to the United States
Although most immigrants come to live permanently in the United States through a family member’s sponsorship, employment, or a job offer, there are many other ways to get a green card.
4 Steps to Become a U.S. Citizen
Eligibility for Naturalization
The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution specifies that individuals born in the United States automatically are granted U.S.citizenship. Legal permanent residents (“green card” holders) also may become U.S. citizens through the process of naturalization. Those seeking citizenship through naturalization must meet certain criteria, such as English literacy and good moral character, while proving a general understanding U.S. history, laws, and government.
General Overview to become a U.S citizen
1. Non-citizens who have had a valid green card for at least five years (three years for spouses of U.S. citizens), non-citizens who served in the U.S. military, and children of U.S. citizens typically qualify for U.S. citizenship if they meet all other requirements.
2. The process of becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization includes paperwork, background checks, an interview, testing, and an oath of allegiance. Applicants for naturalization often complete the process without legal help, but some cases require the assistance of an immigration attorney.
3. Take the Citizenship Test. The naturalization examination is composed of four parts. The speaking test, reading test and writing test all determine English language capabilities
4. Naturalized U.S. citizens enjoy all of the same rights and privileges available to natural born citizens as long as they uphold the U.S. Constitution and submit to other obligations of citizenship.
Visit the U.S.
In order to stay in the United States for a short time (to visit or conduct business related activities), the visitor much obtain a visa first.
Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), tourism, pleasure or visiting (visa category B-2), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).
How to Apply to visit the U.S
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply.
Complete the Online Visa Application
- Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application – Form DS-160
- 1) complete the online visa application and
- 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
- Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
Schedule an Interview
While interviews are generally not required for applicants of certain ages
The port-of-entry for foreigners visiting the U.S. typically is the airport in your destination city. You will be asked to fill out an arrival/departure form, submit to a brief interview and verification of documentation, and consent to a luggage inspection.
Immigration Lawyer Referral Services
The charter of the non-profit organization Texas Lawyer Referral Service, or TxLRS, is to help ensure that all Texans can get access to a qualified lawyer. The service is free for people in need of a lawyer.
Certified by the State Bar of Texas. There are many situations where hiring a lawyer is in your best interests. Chances are if you think you might need a lawyer, it’s a good idea to at least contact one to see if he or she can help. If you feel that you can’t afford a lawyer,
For lawyers interested in the Texas Lawyer referral service and receiving client referrals, please first register as a participating lawyer by going to TxLRS.org/lawyers. Registration is online, fast and easy. Participation is free – there is no fee to be a participating lawyer.