Where can you get a Green Card?

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Published on 2020-11-03 at 15:00 by Veedushi
The US Green Card Lottery program is coming to an end. Potential candidates have until November 10, 2020, to apply for their green card for 2022. Meanwhile, the lucky winners for the 2021 tax year were announced in September. What is it about and which countries offer this type of resident permit to expats?

Not all countries around the world grant permanent residency to foreigners. In some of them, such as China and Hong Kong, permanent residents are people who have legally obtained the right to reside there, that is by naturalization. In countries, such as the United States, Canada and even Denmark, foreign nationals can become permanent residents on receiving a special resident card. The American Green Card is the most famous permanent residence card.

Live the American dream with the Green Card

For most expats, obtaining the Green Card symbolizes the American dream. Also known as the Alien Registration Receipt Card, it historically owes its name to its green colour. With this card, you will be legally recognized as a US permanent resident. Today, the country is home to more than 13.2 million Green Card holders. Of these, 8.9 million are eligible for US citizenship. This means that they have lived in the US for at least five continuous years and have a clean criminal record.

The Green Card allows you to live and work legally in the US, without having to renew your visa. There are several ways to get -- through employment, family, as a special immigrant, or other categories. Most foreign professionals in the US apply for permanent residency via the Form I-140. While nearly 55,000 green cards are available each year for nationals of most countries, the number of requests is usually higher than 10 million. This year, however, citizens of certain countries, including Canada, China, South Korea, India, Mexico, Colombia, United Kingdom, among others, were excluded from the list of eligible countries.

From Danish Visum to the Green Card

Another popular expat destination, Denmark offers a similar card for those who wish to live and work there in the long run. What differs it from the US Green Card is that it's a point system depending on several criteria, such as the age, academic level, language skills and professional experience of the applicant. With a score of 100 points, valid health insurance and proof of sufficient means to support yourself and your family, you are therefore eligible for a Danish Visum for 18 months. This gives you enough time to find a job in the country. Note that the duration of this card can be extended. It is usually issued within 20 to 50 days following the request. Once you have found a job, you will immediately be granted a Green Card. It's worth noting that the Danish Green Card allows you to live and work in any other EU country. You can also bring your partner or spouse, as well as your children who are under 18, who are also eligible for a residence permit. As long as the permit remains valid, your spouse or partner can work full time in Denmark. However, for you to bring your family members, you must prove that you earn a monthly salary that will be sufficient to support them. The amount varies according to the number of family members who are joining you in Denmark.

The Maple Leaf Card in Canada

In Canada, the Maple Leaf Card or permanent residence card allows you to live, study and work anywhere in the country, to enjoy the same rights as Canadian citizens, to enjoy social benefits such as health care, and to apply for citizenship. However, you neither have the right to vote nor to be a candidate for elections, nor to occupy certain positions which require high-level authorizations. To be eligible for Maple Leaf Card, which is valid for five years, you must have lived in Canada for at least 730 days, even if they are not consecutive. Also, you don't lose your permanent resident status when the PR card expires. As a permanent resident, you must always have your PR card and passport in your possession when travelling outside of Canada, regardless of the mode of transportation used. Otherwise, you will need to request a travel document for permanent residents before you can return to Canada.

The UK is replacing its PR card

From December 31, 2020, the UK permanent residence card will be replaced by the EU Settlement Scheme. PR card holders who wish to stay longer in the country must therefore apply for this scheme. To qualify, you must have lived in the UK for five consecutive years or have a family member who is a citizen of the European Economic Area citizen and has been "qualified" for the last five years or has been a permanent resident for the last five years. You can also become a permanent resident if you have lived in the UK for five years as an extended family member of an EEA citizen and as a family permit and permanent residence card holder, or as the family member of an EEA citizen then with the right of residence. If you are a family member of a UK citizen and moved to the UK after staying in another EEA country, you can also apply for permanent residence. In some cases, permanent residency can be granted before five years. To qualify, you must have lived with a family member who has been an EEA citizen, employed or an entrepreneur before their death. You are also eligible if that person retired or has stopped working due to incapacity or is currently employed or an entrepreneur in another EEA country while remaining a UK resident.

The European Blue Card

If you are a third country citizen who wants to live and work in the EU, you can apply for a European Blue Card. However, you must have high qualifications and skills and relevant professional experience and an employment contract for at least one year or an employment offer. This card grants you the same rights as European citizens in terms of working conditions and wages, movement within the Schengen area, social benefits, etc. As a Blue Card holder, you can also apply for permanent residency or seek family reunification. However, entrepreneurs and the self-employed are not eligible.