What is a Green Card? A Guide to Green Card Eligibility

Juliet D'cruz

Updated on:

Choosing to live in the United States is a wonderful decision. You get access to amazing jobs and opportunities and are integrated into a solid system for raising a family. 

To do so, however, you’ll need to get a green card. If you’re interested in learning how to get a green card, keep reading. This guide breaks down what green cards are and what green card criteria you’ll need to meet.

What Is a Green Card

Before we look at how to get a green card, let’s talk about what these are. Green cards are Permanent Resident Cards that show you are legally able to stay in the United States. 

These cards are authorized and issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. If you are living in the US as a permanent resident, you’ll need to carry your green card with you at all times, much like you would an ID.

Understanding Green Card Eligibility

Now that you understand what green cards are, let’s talk about green card eligibility. Here are a few different ways that you can become eligible for a green card.


If you have family members that are US citizens, then you can apply for a Permanent Resident Card. Widowers, fiancés, and immediate family members are all eligible for this type of green card.

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Another way to get a green card is through your job. If you have special abilities in business, rat, education, athletics, investing, or science, you can get a green card for your job experience. 

Special Immigration

If you’re in the United States as a religious or nonprofit worker, as an employee of an international organization, or as an international broadcaster working for the USAGM, you may also be eligible for a green card. These situations are called special immigration situations.

Refugee or Asylum

Sometimes you move to the US seeking asylum or as a refugee. If you have been in the US as a refugee or under asylum for at least a year, you can apply for a green card.


Sadly, some people wind up in the US due to human trafficking and other crimes. In these situations, if you have a T or U nonimmigrant visa you can apply for a green card.


If you are a victim of abuse and a spouse, parent, or child of a US citizen, you can apply for a green card. You can also apply for a green card if your abuse is caused by a relative who is a Cuban native or Haitian refugee. 

The Green Card Lottery

Many people dream of winning the green card lottery, which is a random selection for people to receive a greencard. This selection can also be due to diversity reasons.

Get Your Green Card Today

With this guide, you’re ready to apply for a green card and take the first steps to become a permanent resident in the United States. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to call this beautiful country home!

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