If you are in the United States on a visa, or if you are married to an American citizen, You may have considered applying for a green card. If you have done any research at all, you may have wondered if it is worth paying a fee of over $1000 and the time it would take to get all of the documentation together.
Although it may seem like an ordeal, there are many benefits to getting a United States green card. It will allow you to move about the country freely, give you some civil rights, and give you the necessary launching pad to become a citizen in the future.
The Benefit of Permanent Residence
A green card gives you legal permanent residence in the states. For one thing, you will have a legal form of identity. You will also be able to sponsor your spouse and children for a green card once you have yours. You should know that the fact that you have yours is no guarantee that they will get a card themselves.
Unlike a visa holder, a green card holder may be eligible for certain government benefits. However, they will not qualify for everything an actual citizen qualifies for. They may be able to receive SSI and Medicaid benefits under certain circumstances. They may qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
You will not be able to vote if you have a green card, and if you try, it may be grounds for revocation of the card and deportation. You will not be giving up citizenship in your country of origin, so if you have elections in that country, you will be able to vote there. If you commit a serious crime, you may be deported. A naturalized citizen cannot be deported, but they may have their citizenship revoked if a crime is heinous enough.
Working in the US
One of the biggest advantages of having a green card is the fact that you will be able to work in the United States permanently. You will not have to worry about your work visa expiring. You can also get a job or live in any one of the 50 states.
Employment visas are hard to obtain. Not only do you need to be in possession of extraordinary skills, but you may also have to find an employer to sponsor you. That employer must establish that they could not find an American citizen to fill the position for which they are hiring.
You will be able to start a business and do freelance jobs with nothing more than a green card.
The road to becoming a naturalized citizen is a long and arduous one. You will have to have a green card for five years before you can apply for actual citizenship. You will have to take classes in the United States constitution and learn English.
Not applying for a green card now will ultimately make the process take longer. If you are curious about the process of getting a green card, you can read more here.
In spite of all her recent problems, America is still a great place to live and work. You can enjoy the beautiful landscapes, sophisticated culture, and food from around the world when you live in this country. You might as well get all the benefits America has to offer.