A Green Card is a document that allows its holder to live and work permanently in the United States. People that reside outside of the United States can apply for a Green Card with a U.S. Embassy abroad, after they received the approval of their petition from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
One of the most common ways to obtain a Green Card is through family reunification. If you are the spouse, child, or sibling of a U.S. Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident, you may be entitled to come to the United States with an immigrant Visa. The process starts with the filing of an I-130 petition by your U.S. relatives with the USCIS. A formal interview will be required for all applicants, except for children age 13 or younger.
Once the petition is approved and the case processed by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, the immigrant will receive his Green Card, which will allow him or her to live in any of the 50 States and work without restrictions. If the petition is denied, you can file an immigration appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals.
The Green Card is granted for a period of 10 years, except that the expiration is 2 years for spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents that have been married for less than 2 years when the Green Card is granted.
In some cases, the Green Card can be revoked. One common ground is divorce from the sponsoring spouse. The immigrant can seek a waiver of the joint filing, but only after obtaining a divorce according to the family law rules of the States he or she resides. A divorce can be a very long and complicated matter, and some courts have so many cases pending that slow down the process and create enormous delays.
Another common ground for revocation of Green Card is the commission of a criminal offense. While not all the offenses will result in the deportation of an immigrant, it is extremely important to be represented by a good criminal defense lawyer that knows the court rules and the law. Sometimes, even if a crime was committed, there may be a legal justification for it which will excuse the accused from punishment.