A Green Card is a tan-colored ID card that is issued as a result of the Adjustment of Status process and identifies the holder as a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. The Green Card serves as a travel document and a work authorization form. As a travel document it allows the holder to enter the U.S. when they present it at the port of entry along with their foreign passport. As a work authorization document it allows the holder to work legally for themselves or for any employer in the U.S.
The initial Green Card is valid for a period of two years and the holder is referred to as a Conditional Permanent Resident. Within 90 days prior to the two-year expiration of the initial Green Card, the holder must apply for a "Permanent" Green Card. In one more year, three years from the date of the issuance of the original Green Card, if the holder is still married to the U.S. citizen spouse, he or she can apply for U.S. citizenship. However, there is no requirement that he or she ever apply for U.S. citizenship. They can reside in the U.S. indefinitely on Green Cards. There are several scenarios that can result in the Green Card being revoked, but basically as long as the holder does the following he or she should have no problem:
- While a conditional permanent resident (2 year Green Card), spend more than 50% of each 12 month period in the U.S.
- Remain married to the U.S. citizen at least until the receipt of the Permanent Green Card.
- After receipt of the permanent Green Card, be physically present in the U.S. at least one day during each year.
- After receipt of the permanent Green Card, not remain outside of the U.S. for a consecutive 12 month or more period without first notifying immigration services and receiving permission in advance to be outside the U.S. for more than one year.
- Not commit a serious crime.
If your fiancee or spouse is currently in the U.S., what can be done to adjust status and obtain a Green Card depends on a number of factors relative to the type of visa he or she entered the U.S. on. If you will call us we will be glad to discuss your particular situation with you and then properly advise you as to what we can or cannot do to obtain a Green Card for your fiancee or spouse.
The timing of the Green Card approval is constantly changing but is normally 3-5 months. If you hire us, when we file for the Green Card we will simultaneously file for a temporary work authorization and if appropriate, for a temporary travel document. Those two documents normally are issued in less than 2 months.