What is a Green Card?

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Green Card for Indians

Green Card is an official document issued by the government of The United States of America to its immigrants. This card is issued under the Immigrants and Nationality Act. It is a documentary evidence that the person who is issued this card has been granted the official permission to reside in the country permanently.

Here we will discuss:

  • Green Card and Immigrants
  • What are the eligibility criteria for applying for a Green Card? 
  • How to apply for a Green Card?
  • Indian in the US
  • Green Card Wait List For Indians
  • Lee-Durbin agreement

Green Card and Immigrants

  • The permanent resident card of America is called the Green Card because of the historical greenish colour.
  • Every lawful immigrant of the United States is entitled to apply for this permanent resident card if he or she has continuously resided in the country for at least five years.
  • Immigrants who are younger than 18 years of age automatically become the citizens of the Unites States if any one of their parents is a citizen of the country.

As of 2015, 2.4 million Indian immigrants are residing in the United States making Indians the second largest immigrant group in the country after Mexicans. It was initially called alien registration card or alien receipt card.                                                                                     

What are the eligibility criteria for applying for a Green Card?

For any law abiding immigrant to apply for a permanent residentship in The United States i.e. the Green Card, they need to meet certain criterions. As mentioned on their official website,the criterions vary based on certain categories. Some of the categories are:

  1. Green Card through family: The person applying for a green card in this category needs to meet certain criteria like being a child/ parent/ spouse/ fiancé of an already residing citizen i.e. a green card holder.
  2. Green Card through employment: Any immigrant worker working in the United States for more than a period of two years in some cases can apply for permanent resident card. However there are several other prerequisites in terms of experience, expertise in the profession one has been working to apply for a green card.
  3. Green Card as a Special Immigrant: Apart from giving permanent resident cards to conventional and professional workers the United States also gives green card to special immigrants. Special Immigrants are people who come to the country for employment in the fields of religion, broadcaster etc. This category also includes special Juveniles. These are minor children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected by their own parents. Immigrants from Afghanistan or Iran are also eligible provided they must have worked as a translator for the U.S. government. Employees of international organisations like the NATO are also eligible for applying for a Green Card.
  4. Apart from all the above mentioned categories of people The United States also provides Green Cards to individuals who have been subjected to abuse, victims of human trafficking, and victims of crime. It also provides permanent resident cards through refugee or asylee status.

How to apply for a Green Card?

Applying for a green card is a long drawn process. Starting from applying for the green card to being issued one takes many years. The application procedure for this document depends upon many factors. However steps for a general process of application are:

  1. The first and the foremost step is filing an immigrant petition. In most cases this is filed by someone else for the immigrant living in the country. In some the immigrant is eligible to apply on his own.
  2. After filing the petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services needs to accept and approve the petition. If there is visa availability in your category the immigrant can file a Green card application with the USCIS or a visa application with the U.S. Department of State.
  3. Depending upon the available slot the applicant is called for submission of his or her fingerprints, photos and a signature.
  4. After submission the applicant is called for an interview.
  5. After the interview is conducted, the officials provide the applicant with their decision of either granting or rejecting the Green Card.

After following the entire procedure if the status of the application is pending with the officials of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services the applicant is advised to visit their website and get further information about their application and also update any further information if required.

Indian in the US

  • Indians make for almost half of the immigrants who apply for the Green Card with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • According to their official data United States approved the application of 56,608 of the 64,906 Indians who applied for the permanent resident cards.

Green Card Wait List For Indians

  • The pandemic has altered the situation of granting U.S citizenship to its immigrants drastically.
  • According to a U.S official the wait list for an Indian for being granted a green card is 195 years. This is because the pandemic has forced the U.S government to halt approving applications. This is a huge blow to people working on temporary visas. This has put them in huge risk.
  • In fiscal year 2019, many employment-based Green Cards were issued to the Indian National including 9,008 EB1, 2,908 EB2, and 5,083 EB3 Green Cards.

Lee-Durbin agreement

According to Durbin.Senate.gov

  • The Lee-Durbin agreement would make three changes to the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act. First, it would immediately protect immigrants and their families who are stuck in the backlog by allowing them to “early file” for Green Cards.
  • This would allow workers to switch jobs and travel without losing immigration status and prevent the children of immigrant workers from “ageing out” of Green-Card eligibility so they will not face deportation while they are waiting for a Green Card.
  • Second, the amendment would create a green-card set aside for immigrant workers who are unable to “early file” because they are stuck in the backlog overseas.
  • Finally, the amendment would crackdown on abuse of H-1B temporary worker visas by outsourcing companies by prohibiting a company from hiring additional H-1B workers if the company’s workforce is more than 50 employees and more than 50% temporary workers.

Wrapping Up

The consents of U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin and objections by Senator Mike Lee are all related to Indian nationals residing in the U.S and waiting their Green Cards. Moreover, under the current law only 140,000 employment green cards and 226,000 family green cards available annually, where children and spouses of LPRs are counted against these numbers, as claimed by official website

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