What is a Green Card?
A Green Card is a legal document that allows immigrants to have permanent residence in the United States. Once you have a green card, you can apply for U.S. citizenship after 5 years, or 3 years if you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen, and only if you were a permanent resident during that time.
A Green Card officially referred to as a Permanent Resident Card, is an identity document that shows that a person has permanent residency in the United States. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues a Green Card to all permanent residents as proof that they are authorized to live and work in the United States. If you are a permanent resident, you are required to have a valid Green Card in your possession at all times.
USCIS Encourages Employment-Based Green Card Applicants to Submit Medical Exams as the End of FY 2022 Approaches
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is encouraging certain employment-based adjustment of status (green card) applicants with approved I-140 petitions to complete their medical examinations before the end of FY 2022. Due to consular closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, many immigrants have left their visas unused and have been unable to take advantage of them as soon as they become available.
A valid Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, is needed to establish that you are not inadmissible to the United States on public health grounds.
USCIS is working to identify and notify applicants whose applications lack this form. In the meantime, to save time and facilitate the green card adjudication process, USCIS recommends the following:
- If an applicant is eligible for employment authorization through an H-1B classification, USCIS recommends including a valid Form I-693 at the time of filing.
- For applicants in the United States with approved I-140 petitions and current priority dates, but who filed their green card applications without including a valid Form I-693, USCIS recommends visiting a civil surgeon to get a valid Form I-693 before USCIS sends the request. According to USCIS, applicants should not send their medical examinations to the agency until formally requested to do so. Form I-693 is valid for two years from the date that the civil surgeon signs the form.
Green Card Eligibility Categories
There are several ways to become a permanent resident, but to apply for a Green Card, you must be eligible under one of the categories below:
1. Green Card through Family
If you are a relative of a US citizen, you can apply for lawful permanent resident status while you are in the United States. This category includes immediate relatives, fiancé, widowers, and victims of the cruelty of a US citizen.
2. Green Card through Employment
If you are an immigrant worker with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or if you are a physician who agrees to work full-time in clinical practice for a set period.
3. Green Card for Immigrant Investors
If you are an investor who has invested or is actively investing at least $1 million (or $500,000 in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise in the US that will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees.
4. Green Card as a Special Immigrant
- Members of a religious denomination coming to the U.S. to work for a nonprofit religious organization
- A child who has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by their parents and has been given Special Immigrant Juvenile status
- Afghanistan or Iraq national who served as an Afghan or Iraqi translator for the U.S. government or employed by or for the U.S. government in Iraq on or after March 20, 2003, for at least one year.
- An Afghan employed by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
- An international broadcaster coming to work in the U.S. as a member of the media
5. Green Card for Refugees or Asylee Status
If you were granted asylum status and admitted to the U.S. as a refugee, you may be eligible to apply for a green card. Refugees or asylees are eligible for green cards if they have been in the U.S. for at least one year from their date of admission.
6. Green Card for a Victim of Trafficking (T Non-immigrant)
T nonimmigrant status (also known as the T visa) provides immigration benefits to certain victims who assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking cases. If you have T nonimmigrant status, you may be eligible to become a lawful permanent resident (obtain a Green Card) if you meet all the requirements.
7. Green Card for Victims of Abuse
- The abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
- The abused child (unmarried and under 21 years old) of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
- The abused parent of a U.S. citizen.