If you obtain a green card, which signifies your legal permanent residency in the United States, you will be able to enjoy a number of benefits. It may not be the best option in every case, however.
The U.S. offers citizenship to anyone with a green card. Moving from state to state is not restricted, and changing jobs is allowed (or not having one at all). To become a citizen of the United States, a green card is also required. Consider these pros and cons of obtaining a green card in the United States before making a decision about your future.
Obtaining a Green Card in the United States
An immigrant can begin the process of becoming a US citizen with the help of a green card. Green cards enable their holders to live permanently in the United States.
However, green card holders do not have to become citizens in order to be allowed to live and work in the U.S. Get to know the pros and cons of acquiring a green card so you can make an informed decision.
There Are Many Benefits to Having a Green Card
Perennial residents, also known as green card holders, Form I-485 are entitled to a number of benefits not available to visa holders.
- If you hold a green card for five years (or three years if you are married to a citizen), you can apply for citizenship.
- In order to sponsor certain relatives for green cards or visas, you need to have your own green card.
- A green card makes it easier to enter and exit the United States.
- You’ll spend less on college, university, or vocational school tuition if you qualify for local tuition.
- It is possible to renew a green card every ten years.
- A green card enables you to make financial contributions to U.S. elections, allowing you to support politicians whose policies will benefit you in some way.
Along with these rights, green card holders are also expected to fulfill certain responsibilities, such as:
The Green Card Program Has Drawbacks
Green card holders do not have all of the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens, so they are less advantageous:
- Right to vote.
- Green card applications from family members are given priority.
- Citizenship can be obtained by children born outside the United States.
- Getting involved in politics is easy through elections.
- Travel to the United States requires a passport from the United States.
- No one will deport you.
If you become a naturalized citizen, you will be able to take advantage of these benefits. You cannot gain these benefits by obtaining a green card.
How to Apply for a Green Card
Green cards are only granted to those who meet certain eligibility requirements. Family or employment usually lead to green cards for immigrants. As a victim of abuse, a special immigrant, or a refugee or asylum seeker, you can also apply for a green card.
Following are the requirements for obtaining a green card:
- Alternatively, a U.S. citizen’s spouse or child under 21 or parent or grandparent under 21 can qualify.
- Other relatives of Americans and lawful permanent residents are eligible for family-based preference categories.