Green Card or United States Permanent Resident Card, this is permanent residence permission in the United States.The corresponding document traditionally was colored by green, but not anymore, therefore it is called green card. The Green Card holder can reside permanently and work in the United States, similar to the citizens of the U.S..
Green Card holders can not only work in public offices, elect or be elected, but in general the green card holder has similar right as U.S. citizens. After a few years of residence in the U.S., the green card holder can apply for U.S. citizenship.
A foreign specialist, very qualified and ideal for an American company, may apply for a work visa and pretend for work. In the company, which one can not find qualified local candidates in the USA. The validity of the work visa (3-6 years) may not be enough, and then the company can ask the U.S. government for a permanent residence permission for this specialist (and his family), with the goal to continue work in this company permanently.
Your employer must conduct a serious advertising campaign for the vacancy in the U.S. The vacancy should be correctly described with all the requirements and salary. Only after the end of the full month, if candidates for this position were not found (this should be documented), you can file the main petition for green card through employment. The process can take several months.
There are 2 different ways to apply:
- First – get the work visa H-1B, come to the U.S. and start to work with the employer. Then, during the 3-6 years of work, the employer starts the process of obtaining Green Card for you. In most cases, employers are not in hurry to start the process. This is the most common way for the foreign workers in the United States.
- The second way: to find the “magical” employer in the United States, while you are abroad. The one who will goes through all the steps below, will pays thousands of dollars to lawyers, wait a year or two (and in some cases longer) until you would receive your green card through this employer.
Since the second option is unlikely, let’s consider the first way to apply.
The process may consists of several steps:
- You ask your employer to begin the application process for a green card
- The employer obtains a permit for your name in the Department of Labor (DOL), (the PERM process)
- The employer submits a petition for a Green Card (petition I-140)
- You wait until your turn become available
- You file a petition to change the status for yourself and your family members (petition I-485) + go through a medical examination, get the missing vaccinations and any other requirement, hand over fingerprints, go through interviews
- You get a green card.