Living and working in the United States is a dream for many foreign nationals. While there are various ways a person could obtain a permanent residency card, this also means there are a variety of different applications and processes that a person could encounter.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of obtaining a permanent resident card if you are a foreign national, as well as the permanent resident process and how to renew your resident card.

What is a Permanent Resident Card?

The first step to getting a permanent resident card is first to understand what it is. Many foreign nationals wonder: what is a green card and how is it different from a permanent resident card? The truth is that a green card is simply another name for a permanent resident card. This comes from the fact that this type of card used to be issued on green colored paper, and it became a shorthand way of referring to a permanent resident card.

A permanent resident card allows a foreign national to live and work anywhere within the United States. If you obtain a permanent resident card, you will be required to file U.S. income tax returns, obey all federal and state laws, register for the selective service (if you are male and between the ages of 18 and 25), and notify the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of any changes of address. Please note, you will not be able to vote in elections. This right is only granted to full U.S. citizens.

What is the Permanent Resident Process?

Depending on what type of green card you apply how for will affect you apply for a permanent resident card and the processing time. Once you determine how you are eligible to apply for a U.S. green card, you will need to fill out and file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with the USCIS. USCIS will then review your application and schedule an interview with you. If approved, you will then be issued a permanent president card which will be valid for ten years.

If your green card expires shortly (in the next six months), you must renew your resident card. It would help if you aimed to do this no more than six months before your current green card is set to expire. This is a simple process and can even be done online. Create a USCIS online account if you don’t have one already, complete and sign Form I-90, pay the filing fee (if applicable), and provide any supporting documentation or evidence. Once you have done this, USCIS will process your application, and they may ask you to schedule an appointment for an interview or get your biometric details. If not, you will then be notified as soon as USCIS decides on your renewal application.

The immigration system in the United States is known for its complexity. Make sure you don’t waste time or money by choosing the wrong attorneys. Based in San Francisco, Leiva Law Firm specializes in the Marriage Green Card process, Fiancé(e) Visas, and other U.S. immigration services. Contact us today to discuss your specific immigration concerns!