Those with a visa are typically only a few years or a single mistake away from leaving the United States. However, those who become permanent residents have more protection. A green card or permanent resident card is generally valid for 10 years and it grants someone many of the same rights that citizens have. Permanent residents can live in the country and own property. They can work most jobs. They also have enhanced opportunities for supporting loved ones who want to enter the United States.
Of course, not every individual temporarily living in the United States will qualify for a green card. Some people become permanent residents after living in the United States for years, while others enter the country already in possession of a green card. What are three of the most crucial requirements for someone to obtain a green card?
Qualifying for a visa
For someone to be eligible for a green card, they typically need to be able to qualify for a visa. Not everyone who applies for a green card must enter the country on a visa first, but typically only those who could secure a visa will be eligible to become a permanent resident.
A clear criminal record
Although someone has to undergo a criminal background check to get a visa, another background check is necessary during the status adjustment process. Any criminal infractions that occurred during someone’s time in the United States could potentially affect their eligibility for a green card.
Minimal recent travel
One of the rules that end up complicating many green card applications is a requirement to remain in the United States without traveling abroad temporarily. There are exceptions for those with dual citizenship, but extended travel abroad could affect someone’s eligibility in many cases. It is common for people to avoid all international travel prior to their application to adjust their status until they physically receive their green cards.
Those who understand the criteria to qualify for a green card are in a better position to recognize when it is time for them to submit an application. Learning more about permanent residency and other immigration opportunities with the assistance of an experienced legal professional can benefit those currently living in the United States temporarily.