5 Green Card Facts You May Not Know
For decades, green cards have remained an essential part of U.S. immigration. They allow millions of people to lawfully immigrate and live in the United States, building lives and growing families in America. Also known as “lawful permanent residents,” green card holders constitute a significant portion of the America populace and eventually citizenry.
This article details several interesting facts about green cards, answering some questions that you may wonder from time to time. If you have any questions about acquiring or maintaining lawful permanent resident status, a skilled immigration lawyer can help. Contact Davis & Associates in Houston for a free initial consultation.
Can anyone apply for a Green Card?
No. In order to apply for a green card, a person has to fit into one of several eligibility categories. These are detailed in full on the website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
For example, a foreign national may be eligible to apply for a green card through:
- Special Immigration Status
- Asylee or Refugee Status
If a person does have any connections to the United States to allow for green card eligibility, they may be eligible to apply for the Diversity Visa Program. This program allows people from across the world to immigrate to the United States and gain lawful permanent resident status.
Bars to Adjustment
Some people cannot obtain green cards because they have what the USCIS calls a “bar to adjustment.” Bars to adjustment are listed in in section 245(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The USCIS lists bars to adjustment on their website, which can include previous criminal history, terrorist ties, or unauthorized work in the U.S.
Are Green Cards free?
No. There is a cost associated with applying for a green card. But they may vary depending on the specifics of an candidate’s application or situation. Currently, the filing fee listed on the USCIS’s website is $1,140, not counting the “biometrics” fee ($85).
There may be instances in which a green card will be provided at no cost to the applicant. For example, approved refugees do not have to pay to apply for and acquire green cards.
Any of the above fees do not include the fees that may be associated with an immigration lawyer. While immigration lawyers increase the overall cost of an application, they help to avoid delays or denials due to incorrect paperwork. Additionally, lawyers will ensure applicants follow all proper protocols and receive fair judgment and consideration. They can also help in the case of a denial or request for evidence (RFE).
Why do we call them “Green Cards?”
Considering that the famous green card wasn’t always green, did you ever wonder where the name came from? In fact, after World War II, the cards issued were green, establishing the name for generations to come. Since that time, the cards have been varying colors, including blue, yellow, and pink. You can see what current green cards look like on the USCIS’s website.
Can Green Card holders run for office?
No. Lawful permanent residents cannot run for public office nor serve on a jury. They can, however, become naturalized citizens after a certain amount of time. At that point, they would be eligible to run for certain public offices.
In fact, the only public offices officially barred from naturalized citizens are those of the president and the vice president of the United States. The U.S. Constitution requires this – any president or vice president must be a “natural born citizen.”
How many people have Green Cards?
Millions of people are green card holders, also known as “Lawful Permanent Residents” or LPRs. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in 2014 there were an estimated 13.2 million green card holders residing in the United States. Of those 13.2 million, about 68% were currently eligible to become naturalized citizens.
Need a Green Card? Contact a Skilled Immigration Attorney.
In conclusion, thousands of immigrants apply for green cards every year. Current immigration procedures and processes can be frustrating for applicants and their families. It can take a long time for paperwork to process. Patience is difficult when your livelihood hangs in the balance.
If you or a loved one needs plans to either sponsor or apply for a green card, don’t hesitate to contact an immigration attorney. Only an experienced lawyer approved by your state’s bar association can help you with your application. At Davis & Associates, our lawyers have the expertise and the passion to fight for you and your loved ones. We proudly serve clients in Miami, Houston, and Dallas. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your needs.