Official Website of the United States Department of Homeland Security

Green Card

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The steps to becoming a Green Card holder (permanent resident) vary by category and depend on whether you currently live inside or outside the United States. The main categories are:

If you are already a Green Card holder, see our After the Green Card Is Granted webpage for information on:

The "Green Card Processes & Procedures" section provides additional information on:

  • Green Card Eligibility: Learn who can apply for permanent residence
  • Adjustment of Status: Learn about the multi-step process for individuals inside the United States that want to get a Green Card
  • Consular Processing: Learn about the multi-step process for individuals outside the United States that want to get a Green Card.

Who is a Green Card Holder (Permanent Resident)?

A Green Card holder (permanent resident) is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person is granted a permanent resident card, commonly called a "Green Card." You can become a permanent resident several different ways. Most individuals are sponsored by a family member or employer in the United States. Other individuals may become permanent residents through refugee or asylee status or other humanitarian programs. In some cases, you may be eligible to file for yourself.

This page can be found at: http://www.uscis.gov/greencard

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/13/2011