What is a Green Card?
The term “Green Card” of course isn't the legal name for any one particular type of visa, rather, slang term for “legal permanent residence status” and the green card that used to come with it. Green Card, Papers, Documents - these are all euphemism for legal status in the Immigrant community. And sometimes it can be hard to understand what people are really talking about if you are not too familiar with immigration laws.
Many years ago, the cards that used to be distributed to legal permanent residents to show that they had status to reside in the United States permanently were small personal ID cards with a green backdrop that had the individual’s picture on it. It was from this that the term “green card,” was born. So when we hear people talking about needing to renew a green card, or that their green card expired, or that and they need to extend it, what they're asking you is “Can I extend my Permanent Legal Resident Status?” or “Can I obtain Permanent Legal Resident Status, for my husband, wife, sister, brother, daughter, etc.?” So let's talk about when that is an option, and when it is not.What is Legal Permanent Resident Status?
If a Green Card holder is a legal permanent resident then we need to talk about what Legal Permanent Resident means. Well, to put it simply, they are a non-citizen alien, who has been given permission by the United States federal government to live, reside, and work, in the United States permanently as a legal permanent resident. These individuals can accept an offer of employment without any restrictions. They do not need a special work visa to get a new job or to change jobs. They can own property, can enter and exit the United States freely however, there are some exits. For example they the resident can't be gone longer than certain amounts of time, but for the most part they don't need re-entry permits to leave or return to the United States. In essence they are treated as a person whom resides permanently or makes their home in the United States of America. Legal permanent residents are allowed to join the United States armed forces, they may also receive tuition money and public assistance at public universities. As, you see, a legal permanent resident is able to live their life as an everyday citizen of the United States. If you have any questions regarding this status of the status of one of your family members, please do not hesitate to call us here at Guest and Gray. Our immigration attorneys and staff assist with matters such as this and related to on a daily basis and would be glad to help you as well.