What does it mean to be Green Card holder?
A Green Card holder means you are a permanent resident of the United States in which you can live and work. To demonstrate proof of status the individual is given a permanent resident card also known as the Green Card. There are many ways of becoming a permanent resident of the United States such as being sponsored by a family member or an employer in the United States. You could also become a permanent resident of the United States through refugee or aslee status or any other programs such as the humanitarian programs.
The Green Card can be obtained in one of the four ways:
Employment Based Green Card
An employment based green card will require your employer to submit Labour Certification to the Department of Labour (depending on your category). The employment based green card processing times are very lengthy and can even take several years for acceptance.
Green Card through Family Member
If you are obtaining your green card through a family member, then they will either need to be a permanent resident or citizen of the U.S. They will either need to be
- Your children under the age of 21 who are unmarried
- Parents of the American citizen (sponsor
- Single children over the age of 21
- Siblings of the sponsor who are over the age of 21
- Married children of any age
Green Card through Refugee or Aslee Status
If you are trying to obtain the green card through refugee or asylee status then you can do so after one year if:
- You came in as a refugee or family member of an asylee
- If you were allowed asylum
The requirements if you were a refugee:
- Must have been present for one year in the U.S. once granted refugee status
- Have maintained your refugee status
- Have not already received your green card
- And to not be inadmissible
The requirements if you are an asylee:
- Maintain your asylee status
- Be physically present in the U.S. one year after being given asylum
- To have not abandon your asylee status
- And not be inadmissible
When applying as a refugee or asylee, you will need to fill out “Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status”. The documentation you will provide for either one of these categories is different. If you have other family members who wish to apply, then Form I-485 will need to be filled out for each family member and sent together in the same package.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services allows you to fill out Form I-589 from your spouse or children who are no longer meet the definition of a spouse of children from you as a principal asylee. This allows them to obtain permanent residence. However the CSPA in some cases allow your children that have reached the age of 21 to still keep the classification of a child. To see if this case applies for you, you can consult with the CSPA.
If you need to change anything like your address as green card applications take a long to process, then you will need to inform the USCIS 10 days prior to moving in writing. This must be done for each member of the family that is applying for the green card. You would fill out “Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card”. Please note making changes will delay your application processing times.
Green Card through other ways
There are other categories to attain a green card and they are known as special categories. These special categories include:
- Armed forces
- Religious worker
Other green card programs:
- Haitian refugee
- Victim of trafficking
Rights and Responsibilities of the Green Card Holder
As a permanent resident (green card holder), you have the right to:
- Live permanently in the United States without committing any crimes that would make your removable under the U.S immigration law
- Work in the United States
- Protected by U.S. law
Your Responsibilities as a Permanent Resident would be:
- Obey U.S. Laws
- File income tax returns
- Reporting your income to Revenue Service
- Supporting democratic form of government and not change it through illegal means
- If you are male 18-25 to register with selective service
How do I renew my Green Card?
If you are permanent resident of the United States and your Green Card is close to expiration date you can renew your card either going online and fill out the application to replace permanent resident card also known as E-Filing Form I-90. If you like to submit your application through mail you can simply print I-90 form and mail it out.
Can I renew my Green Card if I am outside of the United States?
If your Green Card will expire within 6 months and you are outside of the United States you should file for renewal of card as soon as you get back. If your card has expired and you are outside of the United States you should contact the nearest US consulate office prior to attempting to file Form I-90.
When should I renew my Green Card?
If you card has expired or is about to expire within the next 6 months you should renew your Green Card using Form I-551. If you are a conditional resident and your status is expiring you should use Form I-751 to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status.
What happens if my Green Card for renewal is denied can I appeal?
If you received a letter that states your green card is denied, you cannot appeal a negative decision. The options available to you would be submitting a motion to reopen or reconsider your application in the same office you have filed. When filing such a motion you are asking the USCIS office review your file again for reconsideration. Therefore, you must clearly state the new facts to help support your case and including supporting documentation with your application to prove the decision that was made was incorrect based on evidence in the file at the time the decision was made.
Contact Akrami and Associates
If you need assistance with obtaining your Green Card or need help with renewing your expired Green Card, please feel free to contact us at 416-477-2545 and we will be glad to assist you with your U.S. immigration matters.