When someone is planning to move to the United States for either education or work purposes, one of the most discussed topics is Green Card. We often hear people asking how to apply for it? Or how long does it take to get a Green Card. It’s not that complicated, but to know how long it takes to get a Green Card, you must read this article till the end. We have compiled this with consideration of various commonly asked questions regarding a Green Card. Here we will tell you everything from what is it to how to apply for it.
What is a Green Card
First of all, Green Card has an official name known as a Permanent Resident Card. As the name implies, it is a permit given by the US government to live and work in the United States permanently. Procedures for applying to Green Card vary upon your specific situation, and there are no ‘one step suits all’ condition here.
Difference between US Citizenship and US Green Card
Before we move towards further details of the US Green Card, let’s get the basics cleared first. US citizenship and US Green Card ownership aren’t the same things. Both have many similarities, but yet they are not the same. So what are the benefits or rights that separate both? Let’s find out.
US Green Card Holder’s Benefits and Rights
- Green Card holders get the right to apply for their husbands/wives and children(only if unmarried) to live in the United States.
- Once you obtained it, you are eligible for benefits like social security, Medicare, and Supplemental Security Income.
- You can serve in a few US military branches.
- You are entitled to receive benefits like food stamps, TANF- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and domestic violence victims’ services.
- It’s alright if you continuously travel outside of the United States for less than a year, but longer than that is not suitable for the Green Card holders.
Benefits and Rights of the US Citizens
These are the core benefits, rights, and responsibilities that separate a Green Card holder from a US citizen. Before we see how long it takes to get a Green card, let’s see the benefits that come with citizenship.
- The US citizen can run for office by participating in a public election.
- You get the right to vote in elections: local, state, and federal.
- You get the right to apply for visas inviting your relatives to enter the US. The US citizens can also apply for permits for their siblings. Other immediate relatives like spouses, parents, and children(unmarried and below 21) can get direct visas instead of waiting for it to be sanctioned.
- Even if your children are abroad, they can get citizenship.
- There are some unique benefits to having American citizenship, and if you have a US passport, some countries don’t ask you for a visa to enter. Seeking protection, shelter, and assistance from any US embassy abroad is easy if you have an American passport as proof of your residence. Let’s say that your passport is stolen or lost while you are vacationing abroad, and the US embassy will still help you in any medical emergency or in case you’re a victim of a crime.
- Federal jobs: if you are a US citizen, you can apply for specific jobs that require you to have American citizenship.
- During times of emergency, you have to serve in the military or as a jury if you’re a US citizen.
Expected Benefits Enjoyed by Green Card Holders and Citizens
- Owning and renting out property in any of the US states or territory.
- Eligibility to obtain a driving license.
- Get an education from any public school and college
- Opening bank accounts
- You receive a social security number that is required during application for a job
Now, along with benefits come some responsibilities that are must fulfil:
- Regularly filing your federal and state income tax returns
- Selective Service: registration for it if you are a man with age between 18 to 25.
How Long it Takes to Get a Green Card
There are various types of Green Cards, as there are types of visas. If you are interested in knowing how long does it take to get a Green Card, the Family Preference Green Card is a tedious affair, taking anywhere from 1 to 10 years for processing. It’s all dependent upon annual caps and waiting periods. If you seek Employment-Based, it takes anywhere from 1 to 6 years, depending on how low and high demand for that job is.
We hope this solves all of your queries regarding US citizenship. If you have any further questions, shoot us in the comments, we will address them in the next article. Follow us for more exciting and useful stuff.