When someone emigrates to the United States of America, one of his or her long term goals may include attaining the citizenship. However, attaining the United States citizenship is not an easy task, by any stretch of the imagination. Before applying for United States citizenship, an immigrant should achieve a green card or in official terms – Form I-551. It is the most important status an immigrant achieves before he or she eventually applies for the United States citizenship. The validity of Form I-551 is 10 years.
We advise you to go through our previous article on I-551
Benefits of US Greencard or Form I-551
Anyway, having a green card will benefit the holder in more than one ways. With all the fuss going nowadays with green cards, let us take a look at a few benefits offered by green cards.
1. Save money on college tuition
Like colleges and universities in most nations, the educational institutes in the United States of America often charge international and out of state students significantly higher tuition fees. It could range anywhere from 10% to up to 50% more than the normal tuition fee. However, with a green card, things are different. You are considered as an in-state resident and thus you do not have to pay the extra tuition fee. Students with a U.S. Green Card can also apply for federal student loans with zero to 2% interest rate. Even the government may provide you with financial aid for your studies. Such aid could significantly reduce or even nullify tuition fees.
2. More job opportunities and extra benefits
An immigrant without Green card would need to be sponsored for their work visa by the company they work for. Some jobs require a security clearance that only green card holders and U.S. citizens can get. However, people with a valid green card get permission to work in any company located in the United States territory except for some companies that only hire U.S. citizens. Moreover, they are given permission to start their own business and create their own corporation. Green card holders can also access Social Security benefits when they retire if they worked for 40 quarters ( or 10 years) before retiring.
3. You can sponsor immediate relatives
“Immediate family members” are defined by US Immigration as unmarried children under 21 years old, parents, and spouses. Green card holders can sponsor a spouse and unmarried minor children under 21 to obtain permanent status. It may be also possible for you to sponsor an extended family member through the Preferred Family category – thus making it easier for them to receive residency status themselves.
4. Travel In and Out of US at your will
One of the best benefits of having a Green Card is that it makes travelling in and out of the United States so much easier and convenient compared to having a temporary visa or a student visa. US Immigration services are required to admit all Green Card holders because the green card is a symbol of their permanent lawful status in the country. Make sure that you take your green card to show USCIS when you come back, also keep a record of the dates each time you leave and come back and always reenter legally (use the border checkpoint). Make sure to apply for renewal of green card months in advance of the due date. Moreover, you should not stay out of the country for an extended period of six months or more. US Immigration will have the right to question if you really plan to make the United States your permanent place of residence and may even choose to revoke your Green Card.
5. Future immunities
If you obtained a green card for your family, they will retain the green card even if you pass away or lose your job. Also, green cardholders will have immunity against future changes in immigration rules that could hurt their temporary permit.
6. Fewer official paperwork to fill out
Most of the other kinds of residency permits have to be renewed either annually or biannually. However, a Green Card only needs to be renewed once every ten years. The process might take around six months to complete starts around six months before the expiry date on the card. You just need to fill out the Form I-90 and submit it to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
7. Eligibility to apply for U.S. citizenship later
As mentioned earlier, the green card holder can eventually apply for United States citizenship. Even though becoming a U.S. citizen is easy by any stretch of the imagination, the benefits of being a citizen are even greater than those of being a green cardholder.
Becoming a U.S. citizen is completely optional. You don’t have to take U.S. citizenship and you can be a green card holder forever. Moreover, if the country of a person’s current nationality allows dual citizenship, a person can get U.S. citizenship without giving up current nationality. You must check the eligibility for naturalization before applying for U.S. citizenship.
8. Other miscellaneous benefits
- It may be easier to get a mortgage for a home purchase. Many banks require a green card or other long-term visas before granting a mortgage. Some banks may charge higher rates for non-green cardholders for a mortgage.
- Some states require an applicant to have a green card before granting him or her professional licenses such as real estate agent etc.
- Many insurance companies require the person to have a green card before they can provide health or life insurance.
- Green card holders can make political campaign contributions whereas other foreign nationals cannot do the same.
- Tax benefit.
- Having a green card allows a foreigner to legally own property, cars and firearm.
I have listed down some of the most exciting benefits of having a US Greencard, I believe these are the most important reasons which makes US Diversity Visa more competitve. Feel free to share your concerns and opinions with us. We will try to resolve all the issues within a span of 24hrs.