Green Cards

A green card is a form of identification in the United States. It is an authorization from the US government allowing a foreign national to work and live in the country permanently.

3,046 Questions

How long does a Chinese citizen with US green card have to be in the US per year?

If he wants to KEEP a green card, he must live in the U.S. 6 months out of every year, although extensions are possible (such extensions are granted at the discretion of USCIS, you do NOT have a right to an extension)

Another answer

On the USCIS website, under "International Travel as a Permanent Resident," it says essentially:

  1. The rule of thumb is that if you are out of the country for over than a year, they may question whether you intended to make the US your permanent residence.
  2. Shorter trips may still be a problem, if they don't think you were intending to make the US your permanent country of residence. Under those circumstances, they may consider evidence such as family and community ties in the US, maintaining US employment, filing US income taxes, keeping a US mailing address and bank accounts, owning property or running a business in the US, maintaining a valid US driver's license, etc.
  3. Trips of six months or more may disrupt continuous residency for naturalization purposes, but there are ways around that.

That page also mentions requirements of foreign countries (visas, etc.), requirements for reentry into the US, longer trips, etc.

When a permanent resident with a valid green card marries a girl who is on a student visa what is the process for her to become a legal U.S. resident?

From what i understand the U.S. legal resident would first have to become a naturalized citizen and then he could begin the petition of asking for his wife. I do not believe that a person w/ a green card, even if valid, can ask for an immigrant. Actually, a permanent resident can file a petition for his or her spouse, but from what INS told me, it takes 2-3 years at best to get the petition approved. However, if the permanent resident became a naturalized citizen first, it would only take 6 months or so to get the same paperwork approved. >>short answer>>> get you citizenship first, then petition for her,.. it's faster>>

Are people with green cards considered citizens?

No. They are only Permanent Residents, a distinct legal class of person from Citizens.

How long can a person with a 'greencard' stay outside the US without risking their legal status?

You can stay out of the US for up to 6 months with no consequence, as long as the person has a vaild green card and passport. Over 6 months contact with the US consulate is needed and the green card holder can stay out of the country for up to a year. Over a year the green card holder will forfeit their green card and not be allowed to re-enter the country. * The US permanent resident CAN stay out of the country for more than a year if they apply for and are granted a re-entry permit by USCIS prior to leaving the country. However, for a PR to become a citizen, he/she must have 5 years of continuous residency and staying abroad for more than a year will typically break it regardless of whether a re-entry permit is issued/used.

What happens if an illegal alien gets married to a green card holder?

If you went through the proper red tape then you should be an American Citizen or Canadian Citizen. If you didn't you are still considered an illegal alien. It isn't too late. Do that paperwork! Good luck Merry Christmas Marcy

If Im happly married and my husband and I jut start with the papers for petition and residency but we dont have sponsor i have tourist visa how much is the amonth he needs for do the petition?

I was found these 2 bloggs very helpful, i hope they can be to you

As an answer to the question, I will copy paste the most direct and applicable answer which was deleted so that this edit could be accomodated."it takes 2 to three years. but make sure that you both know it is only for the green card, because Americans are usually really cautious and WILL find out in this kind of a situation. It is hard to fake a love for someone when you are living with them. if the American spouse realises you are tricking him/her, they will have you deported, really easily. and plus, it is definitely not worth ruining someone emotionally, just so you can have access to wealth. It can really mess up a person psychologically, to be in love and decieved, all for money!?"I will also include this, because it should be known by anyone who is attempting to obtain a green card through marriage."It is illegal for two people to get married for the purpose of obtaining a green card. It is considered marriage fraud and carries heavy consequences for all involved parties. It is wrong, immoral, and unethical. It is under no circumstances an option. Because of abuses, it has become extremely difficult to get a green card through marriage and those of us who are honestly married to a foreigner are the ones who pay."

Can green card holders get a divorce in California if you got married in India and became permanent residents last year?

Yes,the green card holders can get a divorce even if they are married in India. The only requirement is you should be resident of the same county for the last 6 months. You do not even have to be a green card holder for this purpose. However this divorce may not be a accepted by the courts in India and you may have to get it validated again in India. Hope it helps. I LEAVE IN USA LAST 4YEARS WE CAME WITH LEGAL IMMIGRANT WE HAVE INDIAN PASS PORT WE MARRIDGE IN INDIA NOW MY HUSBAND LAST 1 MONTH SEPARAT LEAVING WITH ME AND HE TOLD ME I AM NOT LEAVE WITH YOU GIVE ME DIVORCE SO WHAT CAN I DO PLEASE GIVE ME ADVISE

Can a person have their green card taken away and if so how would they go about getting it back?

Yes. For any number of reasons. Getting it back is done via the INS/Federal Court system. The best option would be to consult an attorney who specializes in immigration law.

A further point of law..............If your documents are "taken away from you" by the U.S. Government, you are now ILLEGAL in the USA and are subject to being deported by the INS. In other words you are heading home.

>>>>>> YES!!!!!! Most people think that once they have a green card they are home free, ABSOLUTELY NOT. And at that point, you are officially ILLEGAL, but you can go to immigration court to appeal whatever it is that made you have you have your Green card revoked in the first place(violent crimes, sex offenses, crimes of moral turpitude, fradulent marriages, abandoning your residency by staying out of the US too long, etc)

Can an illegal alien work in the US without a green card or visa?

Not legally, no. Do you have family in the US legally? Do you have a potential employer in the US? Are you an engineer, doctor, etc? You could apply for entry and residence based on these (essentially you need a sponsor for the first 2). You should be able to apply for a work card when you apply for adjustment of status. (seeking permanent residency). That's right, by law it's illegal. But they do work anyway. Either they get pay cash only or the work with a fake "green card" and Social security number. They take their chances because the option is not pretty neither, I mean, they would not have any money to live by. Be aware if you work on forged documents you're not only doing something illegal, you're causing your employer to break the law. Many illegal immigrants don't understand why their employers aren't more helpful. It's because the fine for employing an illegal immigrant -- even unintentionally-- is up to $100,000 per person. Yes they can though its illegal they get jobs the dont requires documents like lawn service and other types of jobs normally they get paid under the table but perhaps wont get as much as any legal person would.

Does a green card give you a Social Security number?

Not automatically; However, a "green card" (lawful permanent residency for aliens) makes someone elligible for a "right to work" social security number. One must request it at a Social Security office. A green card does not make you eligible for a "right to work" social security number. The "right to work" social security number is given to an alien that has received a "work authorization document". Having a green card will make you eligible for a regular social security number, with no restrictions related to it. In most of the cases when you are applying for a Green card, you might already have a Social Security number (this apply when the Permanent residence is through adjustment of status). This number will be the same when you get your permanent residence, only that if you had restrictions to work it will change to NO restrictions. If you are applying to a Green card though marriage, you will be entitled to apply to your social Security number once you receive the letter of approval from the USCIS

Is it possible for someone who is not a green card holder to become a US citizen by serving in the US Army?

IF a foreign citizen wants to volunteer to serve in the U.S. armed forces, they can, (if they are resident alien of the U.S.)BUT they have to apply from with-in the U.S. so they still need a Green Card to enter the U.S.A. to apply to serve.

For your information, about 15 percent of the U.S. troops in Iraq are NOT U.S. citizens, many are from South and Central America, and they hope to get U.S. citizenship by serving a 4 year enlistment. Kind of sounds like the Roman Legions, who were NOT Romans at all, but fought for pay.

*attention:* NO. You need to be at least a legal resident in order to apply to any of the military corps. Go to a recruitment office an talk to them. You will see for yourself. If you lie about your status or social security number in the application, you will be punished by the law, and will be charged with a felony, and then never and ever can you apply for any immigration benefits at all.

CLARIFICATION: in order to enlist in the US military, you must have a green card. Within one year of your enlistment you will be able to apply for citizenship, as opposed to 3-5 years for civilians. The processing fee is waived for active duty military, and expedited as you will already have had a stringent background check. And, you only have to file the N400 and one other form and the military will do the rest. Detailed instructions are on the USCIS website.

What is the minimum amount of time you can have an H1-B visa before acquiring a Green Card?

I am not an expert on immigration but, I have read a lot about immigration procedures. I think that everyone with a visa other than a simple tourist visa can apply almost immediately for permanet residen alien visa (green card). But do not take my word for it, since i can not remember well. I meant that I am not immigration expert, but I have read about immigration procedures (USA). You can begin right away, as long as your employer has already conducted the necessary recruitment procedure for the Labor Certification. Labor Certification under PERM is now taking just a few months, and there after you can simultaneously submit your Immigrant Petition and green card application. Rachel Houston, TX

How can a US citizen marry an illegal alien in the US if the alien has no photo ID?

It depends on the state. Most states require a photo I.D. If the person is from Mexico, s/he can go to the nearest Mexican consulate and get a matricula consular, which is a photo I.D.

i called a Mexican consular, and you have to have a photo id and birth certificate to get a marticula consolar.

*NO . but, if you can get a passport in your consulate or embassy, that's all you need. but if you better go back to your country and get married there... and start the process in the US embassy everything will be easier and fast.

If an illegal alien marries someone who has a green card but is not a citizen does that help in getting a legal status at all?

Yes, file a petition now, as a spouse of a green card holder. It will take 5 years to get green card as a spouse of a green card holder. On one condition that the ailen stays legal until that point.

if the alien over-stayed, often times the green card holder gets a citizenship, and that tends to solve the over-stay the problem for the alien.

But if the alien entered US illegaly, there is no way to get a greencard even if you get married to a citizen.

[For those who entered illegally, 245(i) is the only solution, but President Bush says no way no how. So those who illegally entered, wait until he gets out of office, and hope that Congress revives 245(i) provision.]

It's good idea to hire an immigration attorney. Many offer free consulations, or for a relatively small fee for 30 minutes. See a few and choose your attorney.

Is it illegal for a citizen to marry someone from India for citizenship purposes only?


It is illegal to marry ANYONE for citizenship purposes only. That person could be deported and barred from life from this country and the citizen that married him/her could face hefty fines or prison time.

Can an illegal immigrant who has had an American baby get a green card?

Generally speaking, they will not be able to get a green card until the child reaches the age of 19 or 21 (can't remember exactly) and can file an 1-130 for their parent. Needles to say, this is one of the longest ways to get a green card. Some people say that this is why people come to the U.S., but a 20 plus year wait doesn't seem very attractive to me.

AnswerIt's 21 years. And I agree: waiting for your baby to be 21 years old so you can get your permanent resident alien visa ("green card") is hardly worth it. But, believe it or not, that's the only hope to get a visa for millions of illegal immigrants right now other than marriage to an American citizen.

How can an illegal alien with a resident relative get a green card?

Contact an immigration lawyer. They can go over the process and details with you. It's going to be a lot off jumping through hoops but I believe it can be done. I believe that only if that resident relative is a parent, spouse, or sibling over 21 years old can be done.

Are there consequences for a US citizen that marries an immigrant for the purpose of getting a green card?

Yes, fines and imprisonment. Doing such a thing is considered immigration fraud.

This is considered as Immigration Fraud and both gets imprisonment for doing it. Do not try it, consulars are smart enough to make out whether the marriage is real or you forged it for Green Card.

Can an illegal alien become a citizen if they have a child that is a U.S. citizen?

Marrying a U.S. citizen and having children resulting from the marriage DOES NOT automatically award citizenship or permanent resident status to an alien, especially one who is deemed to be in the U.S. illegally. The non-citizen must follow the prescribed procedures as required by federal law through USCIS. The children ARE citizens if they were born in the United States OR if one of the parent is a U.S. citizen (not just a Resident, but a Citizen).

Once a citizen child reaches 21, they can then act as a sponsor for their parent to obtain Legal Residency. However, note that it is not possible to have an illegal alien obtain legal residency unless they leave the country first - that is, you can't come to the U.S. illegally, then have someone sponsor you to stay. You must leave the country, have someone sponsor you, then re-enter on a valid visa.]

Personal Experience My husband and I have been married for six years and we have two kids, the oldest is five, and my husband is still not legal. I've told immigration just how important it is that he get his papers because of this and they said it doesn't matter how many kids he has, yada yada. They are culeros.

If the guy only has children that are US citizens, and no one else, he probably will have to wait for them to grow up and petition for him.

How do you get a green card?

There are several different ways. You usually begin by getting a visa by the USCIS in the USA or at a USA embassy or consulate in your home country. The fastest way to obtain a Permanent Resident alien visa (green card) is through marriage to a US citizen or, more specifically, through a relative (a parent, spouse, or sibling over 21 years old who is a US citizen or a permanent resident alien who owns a green card). There are many different kinds of visas including employment, fiance/ee, and tourist (although tourist visas usually will never lead to a green card).

2 broad categories of green cards are as follows:

  • Employment-based immigration which includes the EB1, EB2, and EB3 categories
  • Family-based or marriage-based immigration

The applicable process depends on your current citizenship and family heritage. For the most up-to-date information contact your current home country's US Embassy.
Determine if you are eligible for permanent residence. Review the eligibility requirements needed before applying for your green card. Adjusting your status to a permanent resident is the process used by immigrants to get a green card while in the United States. Find out more about the process.