Form I-551 Law and Legal Definition

P> Form I-551 is the official name of the Green Card or Alien Registration Card. A valid form I-551 is an evidence that a person is admitted to live in the U.S. as a permanent resident. Green card holders enjoy many immigration benefits. The green card holder must maintain the permanent residence status and will be put in the removal proceedings if the conditions of his/her status are not met. An individual may get form I-551 through marriage, employment, refugee and asylum status and other various ways.

A form I-551 may be conditional or permanent. Form I-551 is issued with conditions to foreign citizens who marry a U.S. citizen, and is known a conditional Form I-551. The foreign spouse must apply to have the conditions removed after two years of marriage. A conditional Green Card is also issued to foreign investors for the first two years. A permanent Form I-551 is issued to certain investors and immediate relatives. A permanent Form I-551 is valid for ten years and must be renewed every 10 year.

A person holding a valid Form I-551 will always have to keep his/her original passport. Green Card holders involved in serious crimes or residing outside the U.S. for too long, will loose their Form I551 privileges.

A valid Green Card gives the bearer the right to live and work permanently in the U.S., permits to work in any company or institution, permits to start own business or create own corporation, gives the privilege to sponsor spouse and unmarried children below 21 years to obtain Green Card, and provides Social Security benefits. It also allows the card holder to legally own properties and vehicles, leave and enter U.S. under certain conditions and apply to become a US citizen once the individual is eligible. When a person with Form I-551 applies for U.S. citizenship s/he has to give up his/her Form I-551.