US Green Card
A US green card is given to persons who have obtained lawful permanent resident status (LPR). Green Card holders are able to live and work in the United States permanently. Because US immigration policy works to keep families together, you may be eligible for a green card if you are the spouse of a US permanent resident or citizen.
How to get Green Card for Spouse
If you are a US permanent resident or citizen, you may petition for your spouse to become a green card holder. Spouses of US permanent residents must first have the I-130 Petition approved and have a visa number available before they can file to adjust status to permanent residence using Form I-485. Spouses of citizens do not need to wait for a visa number to become available, as there are an unlimited number of visas for applicants of this category.
Marrying someone with a Green Card
If you are married to a US permanent resident, then you are eligible for a US green card. First, your US permanent resident spouse must petition for you using Form I-130, Petition for Relative. As there are a limited number of visas in the this category, you will need to wait for a visa to become available before you may file Form I-485, Application for Permanent Residence, for your green card.
If you live outside of the United States, you will need to file through consular processing and first obtain a visa to the United States before obtaining your green card.
Marrying a US citizen
There are an unlimited number of visas available for spouses of US citizens. This means that if you are currently living in the United States as the spouse of a US citizen, you are eligible to file concurrently. Concurrent filing allows you to file Form I-130, Petition for Relative, and Form I-485, Application for Permanent Residence, at the same time.
If you live outside of the United States, you will need to file through consular processing and first obtain a visa to the United States before obtaining your green card. Applicants in this category are not eligible for concurrent filing.
What is a green card?
A green card is the informal name for a US lawful permanent resident card. It is a form of identification that states your immigrant status. The nickname of green card came about because of the card's original green color. US permanent residents may live and work in the US on a permanent basis.
What is permanent residency?
US permanent residency is an immigrant status that allows you to live and work in the US on a permanent basis. Though US permanent residents do not have all the same benefits of citizens, they are protected by most US laws, are able to live and work freely, and in some cases are even eligible to vote at state level. US permanent residents also have the option for citizenship after completing a period of continuous residence.
How long does it take to become a citizen?
In general, it takes 5 years of continuous residence in the United States as a lawful permanent resident to be eligible for citizenship. However, spouses of US citizens are eligible for citizenship after only 3 years of continuous residence.