The green card is the Holy Grail of visa applications for those who wish to live the American Dream. Also known as Form I-551, the green card shows evidence of lawful permanent residence in the United States, which means they have a lifetime visa for the country and can live and work there for the foreseeable future. Similar in shape and size to a credit card, green cards show vital information on the holder, such as name, alien registration number, country of their birth, their fingerprint and a photo. Green card holders must carry them at all times in the US, according to USCIS. Those found without a green card can be found guilty of a misdemeanour.
There are a number of ways in which people can obtain the green card, though they are notoriously difficult to get approved. The first way is to be related to a US citizen as a spouse, unmarried child or parent. Children of foreign diplomats also receive US citizenship, as well as widows and widowers of US citizens.
Working within a favoured category of employment is also a strong way to get a green card application approved. Those with degrees or equivalent qualifications, those who are skilled workers, and those who are highly knowledgeable scholars or researchers are all made more eligible for a green card by their employment prospects. Aliens of ‘Extraordinary Ability’ can also obtain a work permit; this includes people with a talent for science, arts, academia or business.
One of the more exciting ways to obtain a green card is through the so-called ‘green card lottery’. Every year the US holds one, but for reasons of diversity, not every country is eligible. US authorities often believe that people in certain countries, the UK for example, have enough opportunity to obtain a green card through their employment or their families, so the lottery system is to allow people who wouldn’t usually have the chance to apply to get their shot at one of the most coveted visas and work permits in the world.