Different Types of Green Cards, Which One Do I Need? | Silver Immigration

Different Types of Green Cards, Which One Do I Need?

The US has a history of welcoming immigrants who want to experience the American dream, and around 1 million people receive green cards each year. With the many options available, it can be difficult to know which is best.

What Are Green Cards?

Green cards are legal documents allowing people born outside of the US to live and work anywhere in the country. There are different categories, the most common of which are family-based, employment-based, humanitarian and diversity lottery.

Family-based green cards

This green card allows immediate family members of US citizens and lawful permanent residents to become permanent residents based on their family relationships. Eligible family members include parents, children, siblings and spouses. Widows and widowers of US citizens are also eligible. If you are the immediate relative of a citizen or permanent resident, a family-based green card may be the best option for you.

Employment-based green cards

Another option for foreign nationals is the employment-based green card. As the name suggests, this green card allows you to live in the US and contribute to the economy through work. Eligible applicants are highly educated or possess a high level of expertise in a particular field. To apply for an employment-based green card, you must prove that you have a degree of expertise not usually found in science, arts and business that will benefit society. There are several sub-categories of the employment-based green card, which you can find listed on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

Humanitarian green cards

If you entered the US fleeing violence due to religion, civil unrest or other social factors, you might be eligible for a humanitarian green card. However, the application process for humanitarian green cards can be complex. An experienced immigration lawyer can help guide you through the process and increase your likelihood of success.

Diversity lottery green cards

In 1990 the US government implemented a diversity program through which thousands of immigrants can become permanent residents. The primary goal of the diversity program is to increase variety in the immigrant population by accepting applicants from countries with low immigration rates. If you are from one of the countries on the list, submit an application. The lottery issues 50,000 green cards annually.

What Do You Need To Know about Green Cards?

Before applying for a green card, it’s important to learn everything you can about the kind you want. When in doubt, a knowledgeable immigration lawyer can help you navigate the process. Some specifics to keep in mind include:

They expire and have to be renewed

Green cards are typically valid for 10 years. When your card expires, you need to re-apply to maintain your permanent residence status. Renewal applications must be completed within six months of the expiration date. The application can be submitted online or via mail.

They don’t need to be signed

If the permanent resident is under 18 years old or has a disability that prevents them from signing, the USCIS will waive the requirement to sign. Once granted, “signature waived” is placed in the signature section.

They can be conditional

Conditional green cards are valid for only two years. To change your card status from conditional to permanent, you must file a petition for a change in status within 90 days of the card’s expiration. Failure to file the petition will cause you to lose your residency status.

They do not grant you the same benefits as a citizen

Green card holders can access many social benefits from the state, such as grants, social security and insurance. However, green card holders cannot vote, run for public office, or apply for some federal jobs.


Are You Looking for an Immigration Lawyer?

Not sure about the best green card for you? The team at Silver Immigration can help. We have years of experience helping clients achieve their immigration dreams. Contact us at 1 (888) 799-4769 or complete our contact form to request a free consultation.