Green Card

Traverse City Immigration Lawyer

Green Card Process
Having a green card, or permanent residence status, gives you the ability to legally live and work in the United States, and is a step towards becoming a U.S. citizen.

Many people think “getting a green card” and “becoming a citizen” are the same thing. But these phrases actually have very different meanings, and each legal status carries with it a different set of rights. If a person was born aboard and now lives legally in the United States, his/her legal status is probably one of the following:

  1. Non-immigrant

    A non-immigrant alien is a non-U.S. citizen who comes to the U.S. temporarily for a specific purpose. Examples of non-immigrant visas include tourists, students (even those who spend many years in the U.S.), and temporary workers. Most non-immigrants are not eligible to work, though. This legal status does not, by itself, provide a path to U.S. citizenship or even a Green Card.

  2. Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)United States Green Card Lawyer Traverse City

    This is the “Green Card” status. As mentioned in our blog, you can usually permanently immigrate only through family, employment, or the Diversity Visa lottery (there are other narrower categories). LPRs are eligible for a Social Security Number and allowed to work (and pay taxes), but they are not U.S. citizens. That means they cannot vote, run for office, serve in a jury, or get a U.S. passport… yet.

  3. Naturalized Citizen

    After a few years as an LPR immigrant (usually three to five), a person may apply to become a U.S. citizen through a process called Naturalization. Under certain narrow circumstances, a non-immigrant can jump straight into the Naturalization stage (e.g. if they served in the U.S. Armed Forces). Only U.S. citizens can vote, run for public office, apply for federal government jobs, serve in a jury, or get a U.S. passport.

If you are uncertain about your immigration status, or are thinking about changing your status, it is highly recommended that you consult with an immigration attorney to prepare your application.

The attorneys at Rosi & Gardner have the experience to help you fill out and file your application. Call us at 231-941-5878 or email us today.