What does Green Card mean?
A green card gives authorization for an individual to work and live in the United States on a permanent basis. The proof of permanent resident status is called the Green Card. There are several ways to become a permanent resident. For instance, many individuals are sponsored by another family member or an employer. Other individuals are able to apply for permanent resident status as a refugee or through an asylum program.
If an individual qualifies for permanent resident status they generally are classified in categories based on a preference system. Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen (spouse, parents and unmarried children under the age of 21) may avoid classification due to their high immigration priority. Congress has set a finite number of visas that can be used each year for each category of immigrants.
Green cards are also given for employees with the first preference assigned to aliens with extraordinary abilities, including outstanding professors and researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers. Next green cards are given to members of professions holding an advanced degree or persons of exceptional ability. Finally, green cards may be given to skilled workers and other professionals.