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Green Card Myths and Facts

Living in the USA is the biggest dream for many. So it's no wonder that untrue myths and falsehoods join facts and figures about the Green Card. Let's clear up the most common misconceptions about the US immigrant visa.

#1. Anyone can get a Green Card

FALSE! While there are many paths to the Green Card, none of them is accessible to everyone. It is particularly difficult to access the Green Card through employment or for a family reunion. Even for the Green Card by marriage or the Green Card by investment, aspirants must overcome enormous hurdles.

By far, the easiest method for obtaining a Green Card is to participate in the US government's annual Green Card Lottery. Here, 55,000 American immigrant visas are drawn each year to participants worldwide.

Signing up for the Green Card Lottery is easy and only takes a few minutes, but even here, you as a participant must meet two requirements:

  1. You were born in a country currently eligible for the Green Card Lottery.
  2. You have an educational qualification comparable to an American high school diploma.

Educational requirements for the Green Card Lottery

The requirement for participating in the Green Card Lottery is 12 years of schooling (or for German participants, at least the “MSA” or “Realschulabschluss.")

Alternatively, you can also join the lottery with two years of work experience in an apprenticed profession. You must have gained professional expertise within the last five years, and your practiced profession must require at least two years of training.

Despite these minimal hurdles, many Green Card Lottery participants fail each year due to errors in the application process because the strict formal requirements of the US authorities hold many pitfalls in store.

Since any unintentional deviation from the rules, e.g., when uploading the Green Card photo, automatically leads to disqualification without comment, extreme thoroughness is required when applying for the Green Card Lottery.

You can get help in the application process, for example, from The American Dream. The team of USA experts will not only submit your Green Card application correctly and on time, thus guaranteeing your participation in the Green Card Lottery, but will also guide you through the entire immigration process after you have won.

#2. With a Green Card, I will become a US citizen immediately

FALSE! Neither do you automatically receive a US passport as a Green Card holder nor do you lose your original citizenship when you receive a Green Card. However, for many immigrants, the Green Card is the first step toward US citizenship.

Green Card holders can qualify for naturalization after five years as Lawful Permanent Residents. The waiting period is only three years if you are married to a US citizen. Depending on your nationality, you may be able to retain your original citizenship despite naturalization in the US.

#3. After winning the Green Card, I have to move to the USA immediately

FALSE! If you are one of the lucky winners of the Green Card Lottery, you do not have to immigrate to the USA immediately but can take care of all important things step by step before starting your new life.

The American authorities understand that not every Green Card winner can abruptly give up their previous life and move to the USA right away. Therefore, especially in the first few years, commuting between the United States and your home country is completely normal.

However, there are a few rules to follow. All customers of The American Dream receive an individual consultation in the event of a win to choose the right time for the move that fits into their life plans.

Check out the process of the Green Card Lottery using DV-2024 as an example:

Procedure of the Green Card Lottery DV-2024

Take your chance to win a Green Card! Apply now

#4. Green Card rights are only valid for ten years

FALSE! Although your physical Green Card has an imprinted expiration date with a validity period of ten years and must be renewed by application, your Green Card rights are not affected by the card's expiration.

In short, the rights of a Green Card holder are for life. There are only a few things that could jeopardize your Green Card rights. These include:

  • You have been outside the US continuously for too long (more than 365 days). Exception: After applying for a so-called "Re-Entry Permit," absences are possible for up to two years.
  • You fail to comply with the "Adjustment of Status" process.
  • You commit a serious criminal act and are expelled from the country.
  • You forget to have the "Conditional Status" of your Green Card removed (e.g., applies to the Green Card by marriage or the Green Card by investment).

Despite lifetime rights, it is your responsibility to keep the information on your Green Card up to date. In addition, an expired Green Card may cause problems at the US border if you want to enter the United States after traveling abroad.

#5. You must carry your Green Card with you at all times

TRUE! The Green Card is proof of your permanent residency and work authorization for the United States. Under Section 264(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.), you can be fined up to $ 100 or imprisoned for up to 30 days if caught without your Green Card.

You will need to show your Green Card frequently, especially during your first steps after moving to the United States. Taking up employment or opening a bank account is almost impossible without a valid Green Card. Customs and Border Protection officers will also ask you to show your Green Card when you enter the United States.

The Green Card makes things easier in the USA

Possessing a Green Card gives you nearly all the same rights as a US citizen. The main benefits of the US immigrant visa are:

  • Unlimited residency in the USA
  • Unlimited work authorization in the USA, and free choice of US employer
  • Easy entry and exit (no ESTA required), no travel restrictions
  • Entitlement to Medicare benefits and other government assistance after 5 years
  • Study in the USA up to 80 % cheaper
  • After you won the Green Card Lottery, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 are also automatically eligible for a Green Card.

This is why the Green Card is one of the most desired documents in the world. Whether you are a professional, a retiree in the USA, or a whole expat family - the dream of living in the USA without restrictions is only possible with a Green Card.

Therefore, if you want to settle in the USA, sign up for the Green Card Lottery today! Participating with The American Dream is fast and easy and guarantees an error-free and timely submission of your Green Card application.

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