A green card, or a permanent resident card, is the first step toward legal citizenship and is required for all individuals who are not natural-born citizens and plan to live or work in the United States on a permanent basis. Individuals who have green cards are able to freely travel in and out of the country, provided they do not leave for more than one year.
There are many different ways that a person can be granted a green card, such as through marriage, family, business, or lottery. Permanent residents of the United States are able to participate in many government programs, such as applying for federal student aid or serving in the Armed Forces.
Individuals with green cards are commonly referred to as legal immigrants. The government places limits on how many people are approved for green cards every year, and the process to qualify can be complicated. An experienced immigration attorney in Washington State may be able to provide assistance for anyone trying to obtain a green card.