The Green Card allows you to obtain permanent residence (Lawful Permanent Residency) better known as a “Green Card”. With a Green Card, you can reside in the United States and work for any employer.
If you do not have an American visa, you can obtain the Green Card:
By marriage to an American citizen, or to a permanent resident.
By the existence of family ties with a Green Card holder if you are the parent or child of a permanent resident.
By the DV lottery
By investing $1 million and hiring 10 U.S. citizens or permanent residents. This amount may be reduced, depending on the policy of local authorities wishing to encourage investment in their territory.
You hold a visa based on employment (H1B, E2,L1, O, P…)
Since 28 March 2005, the American immigration authorities have instituted PERM, a procedure that allows you to obtain your green card in less than 1 year instead of 2 to 3 years previously.
The application for a Green Card is made at the initiative of the employer and not the employee.
The employer first carries out a labor certification, which consists in launching a recruitment campaign for the position for which the green card application is made. This recruitment campaign must be between 1 month and 6 months maximum. The employer must place a minimum of 2 ads in the Sunday newspaper to verify that no American worker qualifies for the job that is intended to be filled by the foreign worker. If the person falls into the so-called “professional” category, the recruitment campaign includes a few additional steps.
Once the recruitment campaign has been completed and documented, the application for work certification is sent to the competent services, which will decide on the application within 45 to 60 days.
After obtaining the certification, the application for permanent residence or “green card” will be sent to the appropriate immigration centre. The time required to issue the Green Card varies from 1 month to 1 year depending on the volume of work at the immigration centre. However, you can apply for a work permit to start your professional activities while waiting for your green card to be issued.
If you hold an L-1 visa obtained through a multinational company or an O-1 visa obtained as a foreigner with extraordinary skills you do not need to do the “Labor Certification”. Your employer can directly apply for permanent residence.
If you were granted political asylum
You must first obtain a work permit valid for 1 year and at the end of this period, you can apply for your permanent residence (Green Card).
Period of validity
10 years, renewable.
Permanent residence allows you to obtain American citizenship (Naturalization) after 5 years if the Green Card was obtained under an employment-based visa, and only after 3 years if the Green Card was obtained through marriage.