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Green Cards Explained

If someone is looking to attain permanent residency in the U.S., a green card (officially known as a “Permanent Resident Card”) is the way to go.  There are many ways to be eligible for a green card in the United States.  Read on to learn what you need to know about green cards.

So, What is a Green Card?

A green card is a means to permanent residency for those wishing to migrate to the United States.  If you have a green card, you can:

  • Gain employment in just about any field you wish (assuming you are qualified).
  • Reside in the U.S. as long as you wish.
  • Enjoy the protection of the U.S. legal system provided you follow the law.

These rights are not afforded to people with visas (see U.S. Visas Explained for more information).  Of course, being a permanent resident of the U.S. means you must:

  • File income tax returns at the state and federal levels.
  • Support the current form of democracy and not try to change it illegally.
  • File for selective service if you are between the ages of 18 and 25.

What Expenses Are Involved in Applying for a Green Card?

Of course, the rights that come along with permanent residency in the United States do not come without a price tag.  The “Application to Register Permanent Residence” or Form I-485 must be submitted with a filing fee of $985.  More potential forms and fees include:

  • Form I-485 Supplement A or the “Adjustment of Status Form” may be filed by individuals temporarily in the U.S. if they want to gain permanent residency. Filing fee, $1000.
  • Form I-130, “Petition for Alien Relative”. If you are a permanent U.S. citizen or resident and you have a relative interested in permanent residency, file this form with a money order for $535.
  • Form I-90, “Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card”. If you lose your green card, you can get a replacement, but it is going to cost you $455.

Forms I-485 and I-90 may also require an $85 fee if any biometric information is required.  Biometrics can include:

  • Facial recognition scanning.
  • DNA testing.
  • Retinal scanning.
  • Handwriting analysis.
  • Voice prints.

If you or a family member is interested in attaining permanent residency, you may need help navigating the process.  Elias Dsouza of Dsouza and Strachan Lawgroup Group has the knowledge and experience to guide you and your family to permanent U.S. residency.

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