A Green Card, also known as a Permanent Resident Card, is a 10-year visa to the United States. It gives you the legal right to work in the United States and grants you the status of a permanent resident—though not a citizen.
Once you have a Green Card, you may apply for U.S. citizenship after you have been in the United States for a certain period of time.
How to apply
1. Permanent labor certification
Issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, permanent labor certification lets your employer hire you to work permanently in the United States. This document certifies that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified, and available to accept the job that you intend to accept. It also certifies that, if you were hired, the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers in similar jobs would not be adversely affected.
Your employer must apply for a permanent labor certification on your behalf. You cannot apply yourself. If you are employed at WSU, ask your hiring department to consult with International Student and Scholar Services.
2. Form I-140
This form, known as the Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, is used to request that USCIS confer an immigrant visa based on employment. Your U.S. employer must file this petition on your behalf.
3. Apply for permanent residence
If you are physically present in the United States, you can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. You can file this form for yourself and your family within the United States.
If you are outside the United States, you can apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate in your home country. This is known as “consular processing.”
Additional applications and requirements at this stage:
- Employment Authorization Document (EAD), Form I-765
- Application for Travel Document (AP), Form I-131
- Preparing for your biometrics services appointment