The green card, or America in its long version


All about the sesame of the candidates for the American permanent residence.

All about the sesame of the candidates for the American permanent residence.

As its name does not indicate, the Green Card is an official document of pale yellow color, which authorizes its holder to reside permanently in the United States and to work there for any employer, without a visa. How to get it and how to keep it? A topo of what you need to know for a one-way trip to America.

Get a green card

Several scenarios exist:

 1/ You do not hold a US visa

Through Marriage – The green card, the cement of the couple

Marrying an American spouse is one way to obtain a green card .

Presented by…

The application is usually made by the citizen or permanent resident, and in order to avoid the sham marriages so common 10 years ago, the green card issued is first  temporary  for the first two years of marriage, then  valid for 10 years after this period. It is well known to statisticians that the first 2 years of marriage are the most critical… and there you absolutely have to hold on even if your spouse forgets to close the tube of toothpaste every night.

Through Family Ties – Long Live America’s Son

Having a parent or child in America who is a citizen or permanent resident can make it easier to get the Green Card , on behalf of family reunification. Depending on the relationship to the US citizen , the time frame varies from 2 years to 15 years.

Through Investment – ​​Green like dollars

If you don’t know what to do with the million dollars lying dormant in your bank account, you can always invest it in the United States. Then hire 10 US citizens or permanent residents and you have every chance of getting a green card .

By the lottery – Only those who play win

Since 1994, the United States has instituted a LOTTERY system (called  Diversity Visa Lottery Program), which allows a certain number of foreign nationals to obtain the famous “ Green Card ” by drawing lots.

Each year, 13 million participants and 50,000 Green Cards are distributed.

FYI, in the lot, about 450 to 500 of the lucky winners are French…

While the Green Card Lottery aims to give as many people as possible the chance to obtain the Green Card , citizens of certain countries (Canada, United Kingdom except Northern Ireland, for example), do not have the right to participate. Note that these exclusions vary from year to year.

To put the odds on your side, you can either decide to register alone, on the official website , but you should know that all the information is in English. Be careful, registration is meticulous and more than 60% of registrations are disqualified for non-compliance… So, if you are afraid of making a mistake or if you have a bad command of the language, you can get help from a specialized organization that will help you. accompanies in French and in several other languages ​​in this process. These registration assistance sites also offer valuable services such as automatic re-registration each year, review of your registration by an immigration expert, a qualified call center ready to answer all your questions, the admissibility of participation files throughout the year and in 17 languages. Result ? A  100% compliant registration!

Stunned special : Be careful, you will not be notified of the result, even if you are selected. It is therefore very important to consult the government website from May 1 of the following year, to check your status.

2/ You hold a US work visa

Here, it is the employer who takes care of the application: he must first present a ”  Labor Certification  “, that is to say a recruitment campaign of approximately 6 months, to verify that no American is likely to be qualified for the job intended for a foreigner. At the end of this period, this request is sent to the immigration services, which decide and issue a decision to Obtain Certification, within approximately 2 months. Then, the application for a green card is sent to the immigration services which issues it between 1 month and 1 year later.

3/ The case of the EB-1 green card

Exceptional Abilities – Help Yourself, Heaven Will Help You…

If you have extraordinary abilities , i.e. skills recognized nationally or even internationally, in the fields of science, art, education, business or athletics, you can qualify for the green card to exercise all your talents in America.

The advantage here is that no job offer is required in this green card category . Rest assured, you don’t need to be a Nobel Prize winner or have an IQ of 159 to qualify; a candidate recognized as an expert in his country of residence has a good chance of obtaining this type of green card .

The EB-1 Green Card for Leaders and Executives of Multinationals

You can also apply for a green card in the EB-1 category, if you own a company in your country of residence and are creating an affiliate company in the United States, to transfer you there.

Presented by…

Similarly, a company in which you are an executive with an L-1 visa can transfer you to the United States and thus allow you to qualify for a green card in this category.Here again, the procedure is simplified because it does not require prior “work certification”.

The EB-1 green card for professors and researchers

Again, this type of green card is reserved only for outstanding professors or researchers with at least three years of experience in the field of education or research, and who enjoys national recognition for their work.

Keep a green card

The green card is not a right, it is a privilege. Obtaining a green card does not make you a US Florida residency citizen. You remain a foreigner subject to compliance with certain rules, the violation of which entails the loss of your resident status.

A long-term stay outside the territory

So when you leave the territory for a period of more than six months, it will be up to you to provide proof that you have not abandoned your ”  immigrant intent  ” by showing any supporting documents that you have taken care to keep with you during the journey. For example: always file your tax return in the United States using the form intended for American residents, keep an address on American soil , a bank account and a credit card in the United States , a driver’s license if you own one.

If you are absent more than once, the immigration officer may consider that you have simply abandoned your green card . To avoid this unfortunate situation, it is imperative before your departure to apply for a re-entry permit before your departure. In concrete terms, a re-entry permit is a small booklet that looks like a passport and is valid for two years from its date of issue.

It is in principle possible to make several successive requests for re-entry permits, but to play with fire…..

The tax declaration

We don’t mess with the American tax authorities : You can lose your Green Card if you declare yourself “Non-Resident” on your ” Tax Return “, and even more so if you don’t declare your taxes while you is overseas (i.e. outside of the United States).

Read also:taxes in the United States

The green card, better to have it… or not?

Apart from permanent residence in the United States, and therefore employment by any employer, the green card provides other advantages and also has some disadvantages:The +:

  • Obtaining university scholarships for your children is greatly facilitated if you hold a Green Card.
  • University tuition fees are significantly lower when you are a permanent resident of the United States
  • You can benefit from a preferential rate for a credit
  • You can apply for US citizenship after 5 years of holding a green card . In some cases US citizenship may be requested after only three years of residency.

The – :

  • Taxation…
  • The United States applies to its permanent residents and citizens the world profit regime for income taxation. This means that you will be taxed on all of your profits, US and foreign, after application of international double tax treaties , if applicable. In addition, you will have to continue to file a declaration in the United States, even if you no longer earn any profit there.

Do you need a visa, advice to immigrate to the United States?

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