How to get or keep the Green Card in the United States?

How to get or keep the Green Card The Green Card or ” Green Card “, we have all heard about but do you know exactly what that is? This is a precious sesame: a permanent resident card that allows you to move and work freely in the United States, without having to apply for a visa. This card gives you the same rights as a US citizen, except the right to vote

What is the Green Card ? 

The Green Card is nothing more than a permanent resident card in the United States. This is an identification document for non-US citizens, issued by the US Department of State. The Green Card gives you the same rights and duties as an American citizen and makes your life as an expatriate in the USA easier.   . As a US citizen, you are required to obey the law and pay your taxes. However, there are privileges that are reserved for US citizens only, such as the right to vote or the ability to serve on a jury. Likewise, unlike nationals who are not required to carry an identity document with them, your permanent resident card must not leave you in order to be able to show it at any time in the event of an identity check.

The Green Card gives you the right to stay and exercise a professional activity or study in the United States, but not only! Thanks to your permanent resident card, it will be easier for you to apply for university scholarships for your children. Even if you don’t get a scholarship, your permanent resident status means you benefit from much lower university tuition fees. The Green Card also gives you the right to loans at a preferential rate. This permanent resident card is also the key to obtaining American citizenship. Indeed, after 5 years of holding the Green Card, you can start the process to apply for a nationality. This period can be reduced to 3 years in certain cases.

Having the green card offers many advantages for those who wish to travel and live in the United States, but it also presents some constraints that must be taken into consideration. As a permanent resident of the United States, you are required to pay your taxes in the United States. So, like US citizens, you must pay federal taxes, state and city taxes where you reside, as well as local taxes. You are also required to report all of your income in the United States. In other words, this means that you have to report the capital gains you earn from both your US and foreign investments for income tax purposes. Young men between the ages of 18 and 26 who hold the Green Card are also required to register for military service. 

How to get the Green Card ? 

You will understand, the Green Card is the royal way to live in the United States and then be able to claim American nationality. So how do you get this famous Green Card ?

The wedding

The easiest way to get the Green Card is to marry a US citizen. To limit sham marriages, the authorities issue a temporary green card for the first two years of marriage, then a permanent permanent resident card once this deadline has passed. It is not granted automatically either. The spouses go through an interview with an immigration officer who will be in charge of assessing the legitimacy of the marriage. After the two-year “trial period,” the immigration service sends the couple a form to fill out to check if the couple is still married. If this is the case, the definitive Green Card is granted to the foreign spouse. The validity of this is 10 years.

It should be noted that the formalities relating to the application for a permanent resident card must be carried out by the American citizen. The procedure to follow is not the same depending on whether the husband or wife is already in the United States or abroad.

If the spouse is already in the United States , the American citizen spouse must apply for a green card at the same time as the application for a work permit. This work permit allows the spouse to exercise a professional activity and move around the United States while waiting to obtain the permanent resident card. Generally speaking, this work permit is issued 90 days after the application.

If the spouse is still abroad , the US spouse is required to apply for a K-3 visa at the same time as the Green Card application . This special visa allows the husband to stay and work in the United States while waiting to obtain his permanent resident card. The duration of this visa is 2 years renewable until obtaining the Green Card .  

Sponsorship of a family member

You don’t have to wear the ring to get the Green Card ! The other alternative to getting the green card is sponsorship by a family member who is already a US citizen or green card holder. A U.S. citizen over the age of 21 has the option to initiate a green card application for a family member. The procedure is more or less long depending on the family relationship between the American citizen and the person who wishes to become a permanent resident of the United States.


In the case of a request for an immediate relative (the spouse, the fiancé, the parents, the minor children under the age of 21, but also the in-laws), the green card is immediately available upon approval of the demand.

If the request concerns a distant relative (unmarried children over the age of 21, his or her married son or daughter or even his brother or sister), the procedure may take some time. Indeed, for so-called distant relatives, the issuance of the Green Card is subject to annual quotas, hence the postponement of processing of files which can go up to 4 years.

The U.S. citizen or permanent resident sponsoring the Green Card application must file an immigration application with the USCIS Service Center (the Immigration and Naturalization Department) that has legal jurisdiction for their place of residence. To do this simply complete Form I-130 and return it to USCIS.

Employer sponsorship

Work is one of the keys to success in the United States, and this is also confirmed for the Green Card . In fact, it is possible that your green card application is sponsored by an employer. In this case, proof must be provided that the candidate is the only one qualified for the position stipulated by the job offer and that his recruitment will not have a negative impact on the American labor market. For this, a verification called Labor Certification is carried out by the Department of Labor via the PERM procedure or procedure of labor certification. 

Once this certification is obtained, the employer begins the Green Card application procedures . To do this, fill the Form I-129 and is attached all the papers and documents needed to apply for Green Card and present the file to the USCIS that studies it. If the file is approved, the USCIS issues the employer with Form I-797, which certifies that the request is granted. All that remains for the candidate to do is to adjust their situation, if they are already in the United States, or to apply for an immigration visa, if they are still abroad. Once this request is validated, he becomes a permanent resident of the United States.   

The lottery

Certainly the least complicated solution, but also the most uncertain! Each year, the United States issues nearly 55,000 green cards through a raffle. This lottery is free and open to all citizens around the world. However, each year there may be a restriction for certain countries which, in the previous draw, saw a significant number of their nationals obtain the Green Card . This is done with the aim of better preserving cultural diversity.  

To take part in this lottery, just go to the official website and fill out the registration form. Be careful, you should be wary of unofficial sites that offer to take charge of the registration for the draw against remuneration. These steps can be scams, especially if financial compensation is sought in return.

There is no limit for participation in this lottery. However, there are two conditions to be fulfilled : the fact of being born in a country which appears on the list of nationalities which can participate in the lottery and to have an educational level equivalent to a diploma of end of secondary studies at least or to have at least two years of professional experience during the last five years.

Registration for this lottery is open between October and November of each year, and the results of the draw are published from May. It should be noted that candidates who have won this lottery will not be informed. It will be up to the participants to check for themselves on the site whether they are among the lucky winners or not. It should be noted that the fact of winning the lottery does not immediately give the right to a green card , because the application must then be approved by American immigration and pay a $ 330 application fee as well as costs related to the translation of documents or the medical examination requested by the government.