Holders of the H1B visa can become eligible to apply for a Green Card after six years. The Green Card is similar to a golden ticket for immigrants looking to live the American dream. You can live and work in the US freely with a Green Card. You will not need work permits to secure a job in the US, either.
However, if you are a frequent traveler, you may risk losing your Green Card status if you stay out of the US for six months. After five years of holding the Green Card, you can move to the next step and apply for US citizenship.
As a Green Card holder, you can also sponsor your relatives or spouse to join you in the US if they meet the eligibility requirements.
What Do You Need to Apply for the Green Card?
Every couple of years, the US government runs Green Card application programs to allow people from other continents (Africa, Asia, and South America) to come and live in the US. The process is relatively straightforward, but you need to meet a couple of conditions to be eligible. You can check this blog on Interstride for more information on what is required when moving from H1B to Green Card.
However, if you have a family member or spouse living in the US, you can apply for permanent residence. On the other hand, your H1B visa status will make you eligible to apply for a Green Card via employment. In such instances, you will need to prove that you have a sponsor, a valid Labor Certificate, and fill out the required forms.
A Look at the H1B Visa
Foreigners require authorization to work, enter, or live in the US. With the H1B visa, skilled workers or holders of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree can have the chance to work in the US. The H1B visa is valid for six years and the I94 card will state when your stay expires.
However, if you want to stay in the US after your H1B visa expires, you will need to renew your visa or apply for a Green Card. Your employer can also help you adjust the expiry date on your H1B visa.
Failure to renew your visa risks jail time or deportation back to your home country
Moving from H1B to Green Card can take a couple of months or even a year before approval, and you must start the application process a year before your H1B visa expires. Please don’t get caught in the last-minute rush as it may put you in a bad situation.
However, you can still stay and work in the US with an expired H1B visa as long as your Green Card application is marked as pending.
You can live and work in the US as a Green Card holder. However, some people prefer applying for citizenship through naturalization. This means you will get more rights, such as voting rights, and will eliminate chances of your stay in the US being revoked.
Moving from an H1B to Green Card to a full citizen can be tricky, but it is worth it if you want to live the American dream.