A Permanent Resident Card, which you may know as a green card, gives you authorization to permanently live and work in the United States. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is the agency responsible for granting this official immigration status.

If you receive permanent residence in Georgia, you gain special rights and responsibilities.

How do I know if I am eligible?

 Before you begin applying for a green card, you should determine whether you are eligible. Immigration laws provide various methods for applying for permanent residence. According to USCIS, you may be able to obtain a green card through one of the following ways:

  • Through family
  • Through employment
  • Through asylee or refugee status
  • As a special immigrant
  • As a victim of abuse, crime or human trafficking
  • Through registry or lottery

In most cases, you need someone to sponsor or petition on your behalf. But you may be able to file for permanent residence for yourself depending on your circumstances.

Does it matter if I am currently inside the U.S.?

 The application process is different depending on your current location. If you are in the U.S., you go through “adjustment of status.” This allows you to obtain permanent residence without going back to your home country. If you are not living in the U.S., the pathway for obtaining a green card is through consular processing. This requires you to file your application with the U.S. Department of State at an abroad consulate.

This information may help you understand the basics of permanent residency but does not substitute legal advice.