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What is a green card? How to apply for a green card in the USA?

Green card has several meanings and the most prominent one being the permanent residence associated with the United States of America. Formally referred to as Alien Registration Card, it is a proof stating that a person is a lawful permanent resident of the USA. It implies a green card holder has all the grants to enjoy the immigration benefits to live and work in the states.

Green card, which are really not green in color are issued by the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) initially. Later, BCIS that is a subsidiary of DHS took the position. For formal and clear understanding, the BCIS was later renamed to USCIS – U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services – the name does make sense now.

Those who are eighteen or above , who are permanent residents need to carry the Green card, failure of which would result in a fine of few dollars or imprisonment for a few days.

Green Card Format

A Green Card typically has 3 lines. The contents of the lines are as follows

First Line: This contains information related to the nature of residence (US resident or Canadian resident), issuing country, alien number, receipt number and case number.

Second Line:  This contains the personal details of the holder that include birth date, gender , country and expiration date of the card

Third Line:  The name of the applicant is present in this line. Also, the names of parents are included here.

How to apply for a Green Card

You need to submit the green card application online to the US Department of State. This is free of cost and the form can be filled with ease. Bear in mind that your application will be rejected if you are submitting the form twice or more with the same details.  Fill it very carefully as many rejections are made only due to silly reasons that people make during the application process.

You need to apply in the period defined by the government which is usually from second week of November to December or January. After online forms are introduced, paper submissions are not being accepted. The general details that the application form contains include your name, family names, gender, birth details, contact details and martial status. You also need to submit a latest photograph of yours

The application form requires you to submit the following details: Full name, including last/family name, first and under 21. A recent photograph is also required. You will upload the photograph when you submit the form. See below for technical requirements for the photograph file.

If you are not native to an eligible country, you might fill a “Country of Eligibility” instead. This field allows you to claim nativity and thus country of eligibility of your spouse or parent. You must provide a conscise indication of such claim on the form.

If relevant, spouse and children information must be submitted with the same sort of details as the applicant’s: full name, date and place of birth, gender, and photograph. See below for details on submitting information on your children with the technical specifications mentiond.

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