Green Cards

What is a Green Card?

USCIS Form I-551 ("Green Card") identifies you as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).  LPRs 18 years of age and older must keep their Green Card with them at all times. INA § 264(e)

Green Cards allow a Foreign National (FN) to live and work in the United States. In general, an LPR must reside within the United States each year for greater than 6 months. Excessive time away from the United States may be seen by USCIS and CBP as abandonment of the LPR status. In some situations, it may be possible to obtain permission to remain outside the united states for longer than 6 months. If you believe you qualify for such, you should speak with USCIS or an immigration attorney.

Some Green Cards are first issued on a conditional 2-year basis. All other Green Cards are issued for 10 years. Cards issued for 2 years must have the conditions on residence removed. All other cards must be renewed.

How do you get a Green Card?

Someone most petition the U.S. government for you, usually a family member or an employer. Under some circumstances, you can petition for yourself under certain categories or statuses, or as an investor.

(last updated Feb 9, 2015 wms)