The green card, which is given to a permanent resident in the United States, is an identification document issued by the U.S. State Department. It allows non-US citizens to live and work legally in the United States without the need for a visa. The rights and duties of holders of the card are in all respects identical to those of an American citizen except the right to vote and to serve as a juror. In addition, the owner has a duty to always keep the card with him, in case one controls the regularity of his stay.
The term green card comes from the color of the paper used by the Form I-151, the predecessor of the card, which was green until 1964. Since that date the card was different colors, but it is still known as the green card.
Since 2006, the card is rather white on the front with the holder’s name, photo and other information, and contains a dark green band with various systems to prevent counterfeiting.
USCIS approves the request from a family member or employer.
By the employer:
The employer must prove that there was nobody else in the United States capable of performing the work of the applicant and his salary is not likely to jeopardize the wages of Americans in the same region. In general, employers rely on specialized law firms to complete the forms and provide evidence; this part is the most difficult to pass. The cost is typically 1500 to 2000 dollars, often supported by the employer. If certification is denied, they must start from scratch.
It is possible to obtain a Green Card by marrying a U.S. citizen. That is, provided that after the marriage the American citizen and you (for a fee) fill various visa applications, such as temporary travel visa, temporary resident visa, temporary work visa, medical and others. The U.S. citizen must also sponsor the non-US citizen.
Unless you are a close member of the applicant (spouse, children and parents of U.S. citizens), you must obtain an immigrant number from the USCIS. This number can take years to be obtained because there is only a certain amount of numbers allocated each year by country of origin and the waiting list in some countries may be very long. Immigrants who are close members of the applicant are not subject to this quota and can proceed to the next step immediately.
In the case of an application by the employer, the application for an immigrant number consists of filling out the Immigrant Petition form, which once signed and returned by the authorities, permits to work legally in the United States without the need for a working visa. This step is called obtaining the temporary immigration status. At this point the applicant is in transition, and needs permission to leave the country (EAD). If the applicant needs to travel outside the United States, the applicant may no longer be able to return to the U.S. if it has not completed this process in advance. The authorities are giving the applicant the right to work in the United States; they do not appreciate that this is taken lightly.
After obtaining an immigrant number, the applicant passes from temporary immigration status to that of permanent immigrant. The procedure usually takes about a year and is approved as long as all necessary documents obtained above are valid, that the compulsory medical examination, necessary to verify that the applicant is not under the influence of illegal drugs and has no psychological problems, was performed, and that the FBI has taken fingerprints and conducted a thorough background check.
Each year, as part of its “diversity immigrant visa program” (program to maintain some diversity among the immigrant population in the United States), the U.S. government organizes a free lottery enabling about 50,000 foreigners to receive this famous gift.