What Is Form I-551?
Form I-551 is the official name of the Green Card which is otherwise called as Permanent Resident Card. Form I-551 is an evidence that an individual is admitted to live in United States as a permanent resident. The Permanent Resident Card holders are granted many immigration benefits. The green card holder must maintain the permanent residence status and will be put in the removal proceedings if certain conditions of the his/her status are not met.
The Form I-551 is valid for ten years which must be renewed before it expires. If the Permanent Resident Card is valid for two years then it is called as Conditional Green card which will be obtained through marriage and it must be renewed before the card expires.
Also known as green card and alien registration card. The Green Card gives the right to an individual to live and work permanently in the United States, permits to work in any company or institution, permits to start own business or create own corporation, gives the privilege to sponsor spouse and unmarried children below 21 years to obtain Green Card, provides Social Security benefits, allows to legally own properties and vehicles, allows to leave and enter United States under certain conditions and apply to become a US citizen once the individual is eligible.
An individual may obtain the Permanent Resident Card though marriage, employment, refugee and asylum status and other various ways.
Who Is Eligible?:
Before applying for Form I-551, one must check whether he/she is eligible to apply for Permanent Resident Card. To qualify for the green card the individual must be an eligible candidate for one of the immigrant categories mentioned below, must have a qualifying immigrant petition, an immigrant visa available immediately and be admissible to the United States.
*Immediate relatives of a US Citizen – spouse and children of US Citizen, parents of a US Citizen (if the child is above 21 years of age), step children and step parents of US Citizen
*Family members of the US Citizen – spouse, unmarried children (if married, then must have at least one US Citizen parent), brothers or sisters of US Citizens.
*Employees and workers (who are offered jobs in US)
*Refugees and Asylees
*Amnesty and Special Agricultural Worker Status
*Long-time residents (people who have lived in US legally for more than 10 years and request green card as a defense in immigration court proceedings)
Apart from these, the individuals may also qualify through the Diversity Visa lottery program which is administered by the US State Government every year.
Green Card Process and Procedure:
Generally, when applying for Form I-551 the individual must first determine whether he/she is eligible for permanent resident status. Then depending on the immigrant category, the individual must decide the process of the application. If the individual applies from outside United States, he/she must go through the Consular Processing which has to be done in the US Embassy or the consulate of their country. If the individual applies for Form I-551 while being in United States, then he/she must go through the procedure to adjust status to permanent residence.