Obtaining a green card is the first step to citizenship

One of the requirements for United States citizenship is for an immigrant first to become a lawful permanent resident. Often, permanent residents are referred to as holders of green cards.

If the person retains his permanent resident status for the required number of years, he can take the next steps toward naturalization.

Of course, holding a green card confers benefits in its own right. Perhaps most importantly, a green card gives a person permission to live and work in this country without a time limit. So long as they follow the rules, green card holders may stay in the United States permanently.

Obtaining a green card is itself a lengthy legal process which can be hard to understand and get through, especially if English is not a person’s native language.

A person must first be eligible for a green card

Before even applying for a green card, a person will first have to demonstrate that she is eligible to do so.

There are number of categories of people who may apply for a green card. For example, spouses and certain other close relatives of United States citizens or permanent residents are eligible to receive a green card.

Likewise, many people with skill sets that in the eyes of the government have special value to this country, such as medical knowledge, for example, may be able to obtain a green card.

Depending on a person’s situation, she may qualify to receive a green card by belonging to another category.

Eligibility is just one question the government will ask when deciding a case

It is also important for immigrants living in Pennsylvania to remember that getting a green card is not automatic even if a person is eligible. He must also demonstrate that he has the proper moral character and stability to be able to be a productive resident of the United States.

FindLaw Network