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Green card PNG
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Green card

United States lawful permanent residency, informally known as green card, is the immigration status of a person authorized to live and work in the United States of America permanently. Green cards are valid for 10 years for permanent residents, and 2 years for conditional permanent residents. After this period, the card must be renewed or replaced. The application process may take several years. An immigrant usually has to go through a three-step process to get permanent residency that includes petition and processing.

A United States Permanent Resident Card (USCIS Form I-551), formerly known as Alien Registration Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (INS Form I-151), is an identification card attesting to the permanent resident status of an alien in the United States. Owing to its green design from 1946 until 1964, it is known informally as a "green card", a nickname it retained even after the color was changed. The card was restored to green in 2010. "Green card" also refers to an immigration process of becoming a permanent resident. The green card serves as proof that its holder, a lawful permanent resident (LPR), has been officially granted immigration benefits, including permission to reside and take employment in the United States. The holder must maintain permanent resident status, and can be removed from the United States if certain conditions of this status are not met.

Green cards were formerly issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Pub. L. No. 107–296, 116 Stat. 2135) dismantled INS and separated the former agency into three components within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The first, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), handles applications for immigration benefits. Two other agencies were created to oversee the INS's former functions of immigration enforcement: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), respectively.

Permanent residents of the United States eighteen years of age or older must carry their actual green card at all times. Failing to do so is a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, carrying the possibility of a fine up to $100 and imprisonment for up to 30 days for each offense. Only the federal government can impose these penalties.

Cards issued between January 1977 and August 1989 do not have document numbers or expiration dates and are valid indefinitely.

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