The Green Card Lottery, otherwise known as the Diversity Visa Lottery, is a popular American immigration program that gives 50,000 people green cards every year.
The lucky winners who do eventually get these green cards into their hands are then allowed to live and work in the U.S. for as long as they please to as long as they don’t break any serious laws.
Some immigrants ask the question: what next, then?
Many people use their green cards as a sort of trial period for living in the United States. During the first few years of life in America, they assess whether or not they wish to live there permanently.
A great deal of people who give the U.S. a chance do eventually decide that they want to live there permanently.
These people then have a few different options. The first of which is to stay a permanent resident (green card holder).
The problem with staying a permanent resident for a very long period of time is that one will miss out on certain benefits.
Permanent residents can become citizens after about four years of permanent residency and this is a preferred status. Benefits include:
- Citizens can help their relatives immigrate easier
- You can’t be deported if you’re a citizen
- Citizens can vote in federal elections, thereby contributing to the democratic process
- Citizens can hold U.S. passports and can leave the U.S. for extended periods of time which won’t impact their status as a citizen
As one might be able to see, citizenship is definitely a desirable immigration status in the U.S.
Since citizenship requires permanent residency, the Green Card Lottery is an excellent place to start on your journey to American Citizenship!