One of the questions most often asked through this blog, or by my friends on various social media is “How do I get a US Green Card (can be called a” Green Card “only) or a US Permanent Resident? Is it possible to obtain the Permanent Resident status if not through marriage? Do we lose Nigerian citizenship status if we have a US Green Card? “
In this article, I will try to answer all the questions above, complete with details of the costs we need to provide. But beforehand, let’s understand the meaning of the US Green Card itself.
What does the US Green Card really mean?
Green Card or United States Permanent Residence is an immigration status that allows recipients to live permanently and work commercially and legally in the United States. This card is called the Green Card because the physical color of the card itself is green (green). Green Card holders remain in the status of citizens of their home country.
So, even though I, for example, have a Permanent Resident status in the United States, I am still an Nigerian citizen. Unlike citizen status, a Green Card has a validity period that varies, depending on the person’s immigration stage. This validity period starts from 2 years, 5 years, and some even 10 years. Green Card holders must wait for approximately 7 years in Permanent Resident status before they can change their citizenship status to become citizens of the United States. Nigeria does not allow its citizens to have dual citizenship status , so if someone changes status to become a citizen of the United States, that person is no longer an Nigeria citizen. Dual citizenship is recognized only for Nigerian citizens by descent
What is the difference between Permanent Residence and Citizen Status?
One of the fundamental differences between Permanent Residence and Citizen status is whether or not a person can participate in general elections. Permanent Residence does not have the right to take part in the election in the United States. Although Permanent Residents and US citizens alike pay income tax to the US government, there are benefits ( benefits ) which can only be obtained by a citizen. Job vacancies in government offices are also generally only reserved for citizens.
Working and living in the United States is a dream for some people. I know there are some friends who try to apply for jobs in the United States in the hope that they can be sponsored by the company where they apply. In my experience, it’s very unlikely that a company will recruit workers outside the United States – because sponsoring a visa is not an easy matter, or a cheap matter. Logically, it is easier for a company to recruit workers who already live in the United States. But don’t be sad or discouraged and sad, there are international scale companies in Nigeria that send their workforce to work in one of their branch offices in the United States for a certain period of time, up to yearly – depending on the contract with the company.
Now, how (and how much does it cost) to manage a Green Card application?
Another way to get a residence permit if not through inter-national marriage is to register with the Electronic Diversity Visa Lottery program, or it can be called a Green Card Lottery. This program is an official program from the United States Government free of charge, which aims to maintain the diversity of immigrant populations in America. The official link for the Green Card Lottery is https://www.dvlottery.state.gov– Apart from this link, another Green Card Lottery program is paid fraud. If we are selected as winners of the Green Card Lottery, we must fly to the United States within a period of 6 months. All costs are borne personally. We have to bring enough money for several months to pay for the apartment rent and daily necessities until we get a job. So even though we have been awarded the Green Card status, there are still many costs to be incurred.
Examples of estimated costs for the first 3 months ( if within 3 months have not received a job ):
Ticket (round trip): $ 1,200
Rent 3 months apartment and deposit (usually 1 month rent): ($ 500 x 3) + $ 500 = $ 2000
Daily needs for 3 months: $ 1000 x 3 = $ 3000
Total: 1,200 + 2000 + 3000 = $ 6200
Convert to Naira: $ 6200 x 359 = N2225800
* The costs mentioned above are estimates of the cost of living in small towns, not metropolitan cities like New York or Los Angeles which are in fact far more expensive.
So as we see, even if we have got the Green Card Lottery, the costs to be prepared are also high.
And the last is to come with student status, then after living in the United States for 2 years, contact an immigration lawyer to help change the status to Permanent Residence. This is indeed costly, but it is very possible. As an illustration, consult with an immigration lawyer in a small town like Lexington, Kentucky, about $ 350.00 / hour or (350 x 359) N 125650 / hour.
This is a realistic picture of the Green Card process. The information I get is based on personal experience, information from some other website ( I listed below the article ), based on my interviews with some of the winners of the Green Card Lottery in Nigeria, and a lawyer friend of my husband.
There is nothing wrong if someone wants to live and work in another country such as the United States. In any country we live in, there must be something we can learn and we bring it back to our country to advance the nation. In fact, in my opinion, the best way to get to know our own nation is to see our nation from a new perspective so that we can better identify what things we can improve in Nigeria. ind