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Monday, November 11, 2013

What is a Green Card? How do I get a Green Card in New York?

Green Cards in New York

What are Green Cards?

A Green card,  known as Unite States Permanent Resident cards, are identification cards that indicate, though the person identified on the card is not a United States citizen, they are still authorized by law to live and work within the U.S. on a permanent basis. Many look at green cards as an important step towards someday becoming a full-fledged U.S. citizen.

Who can get a Card?

Family Members of U.S. Citizens

One of the most common ways for people to get a green card is for them to apply for it based on the citizenship of one of their family members. A person may be qualified to apply for a green card if they are:

  • An immediate relative of U.S. citizens such as spouses, children, and parents
  • A family member of a person who fits in to a “preference category” such as a brother and/or sister over 21 years of age, married children of any age, and unmarried sons/daughters over 21
  • Family members of green card holders

There are also a number of special categories that a person may belong to making them eligible for a green card. Many of these categories are tailored towards vulnerable persons who are or were related to a U.S. citizen and towards people who have suffered domestic abuse. These special categories have additional requirements on top of the basic green card qualifications and are more difficult to get.

People Offered Jobs within the U.S.

Certain jobs that are offered to non-citizens within the United States may help a person qualify for a green card. With the employer’s cooperation, non-citizens who are offered a permanent job within the U.S. can apply for a green card. The application process is sometimes burdensome for the employer, so it is important to make sure that you establish in advance that your employer is willing to work with you throughout the green card application process if you are offered a permanent job within the U.S. and are considering accepting it partly because you want a green card.

Also in the job-related category of green card candidates are those individuals who have a special skill set that is in high demand within the U.S. or those whose investment creates jobs within the U.S. Additionally, if a person interested in a green card has established himself as an Alien of extraordinary ability or has received a National Interest Waiver, he or she may also qualify for a green card.

People Granted Asylum or Refugee Status

People who have already been granted entrance to the United States based on their status as asylum-seekers or as refugees are eligible to apply for a green card after living in the U.S. for at least a year. People granted refugee status are known as refugees, while those who are granted asylum are known as asylees. The ability to apply for a green card after a year of residency within the U.S. may also extend to family members of asylees and refugees. It’s important to note that if you are allowed in to the U.S. as a refugee you must apply for permanent resident status after living in the U.S. for 1 year.

Other Ways to Become a Permanent Resident

There are a number of other ways to get a green card, but they are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to being granted a green card. Because family, asylum and refugee status may affect the success of a green card application, working with an experienced attorney is the best way to determine whether or not someone is qualified to apply for a green card in the United States. 


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