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. 

Green Cards allow a Foreign National (FN) to live and work in the United States. An FN must reside within the United States each year for a time, typically greater than 6 months. Excessive time away from the United States may be seen by USCIS and CBP as abandonment of the LPR status. 

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.

(last updated Feb 9, 2015 wms)