Immigrants from around the world come to the United States for many reasons. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reports that it issued approximately 280,000 employment-based visas in 2022.
If you are among the lucky recipients, you likely have a few questions. Here are three common questions about green cards.
1. Can I start becoming a U.S. citizen right away?
If you applied for and received a green card, you likely have plans to start your journey to become a permanent U.S. citizen, but there is a waiting period before you can start the process. The length of time varies based on how you got the green card. If you arrived in the U.S. via an employment- or family-based visa, you have a five-year waiting period.
2. Can I leave the United States?
Applying for a green card suggests that you want to stay in the U.S. permanently, and USCIS expects that you will maintain a physical presence in the country. While you can travel out of the U.S. for up to six months at a time, you must spend a minimum of 30 months in the country if you have a five-year citizenship waiting period. Not doing so may affect your future and current immigration status.
3. Will my green card expire?
Your green card has an expiration date. Depending on the kind, it expires in two or 10 years. Luckily, as the date approaches, you have the option to continually renew it. Avoiding that process means losing your green card.
Immigration laws can easily become complicated. Learning the facts may help you avoid legal issues down the road.