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The benefits of a US green card for international students are abundant. Becoming a Green Card holder through the EB-5 program not only offers international students (F1 student visa holders) greater chances to access the college and university of their choice, but it also provides them and their parents with plenty of financial and other benefits during and after their education in the United States.
Green card holders have greater flexibility in pursuing educational opportunities in the United States. They can enrol in any U.S. educational institution, including public and private schools, colleges, universities, and vocational programs, without facing international student visa restrictions and quotas.
Oftentimes, US colleges and universities have an enrollment cap on out-of-state and international students. This is particularly true for public colleges and universities with a responsibility to their state residents and taxpayers. Students applying to study at U.S. colleges and universities with a green card are considered domestic students and thus do not face admissions quotas resulting in higher chances to be accepted, especially in the most competitive programs and schools, when compared to international students.
For individuals interested in obtaining a green card through investment, the US EB-5 program provides an avenue to explore educational prospects in the United States.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Green card holders may be eligible for federal financial aid, including grants, scholarships, and 0% loans, to help finance their education. They can access a wider range of financial assistance options compared to international students who are typically limited in their eligibility for federal aid as they are not US taxpayers. Obtaining such financial aid can help reduce fees for a student’s education a considerable amount. To get a federal loan as a student and green card holder, an applicant must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to potentially access up to $20,500 in funds per academic year.
Lower Tuition Rates
International students being educated in the US pay significantly more for college and university tuition than domestic students. For instance, undergraduate residents at one of the top public universities in 2022 – the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) – pay approximately $13,268 in annual tuition, compared to approximately $43,022 paid by international students. This means that you can save approximately $30,000 every year per child. A US green card student willing to obtain a master’s degree will save up to $150,000 within five years. This benefit is especially helpful for families who choose to send multiple children to the US for post-secondary education.
Green card holders are eligible for unrestricted work authorization in the United States. As a student, this allows you to seek employment opportunities off-campus, work part-time or full-time, and gain valuable professional experience in your field of study while pursuing your education in the form of paid internships or summer positions, which could help you in obtaining employment post-graduation. For example, many of the leading law firms in the United States will only hire students who have worked for them summer upon summer as an intern, however, priority will be given to US residents and citizens for summer positions.
Holding a green card can enhance your career growth in the United States. Employers generally view green card holders as permanent residents, which can improve job prospects, salary negotiations, and long-term career development opportunities.
Holding a green card gives you a considerable advantage compared to international students both during their schooling and post-graduation when it comes to valuable employment opportunities. The process companies must go through in order to hire non-US employees is often time-consuming, costly, and with no guarantee that the time spent training the student will result in a beneficial outcome for the company if he/she can only stay for a short period of time due to visa issues. For these reasons, US companies usually prefer hiring green card holders who are considered US permanent residents. In addition, because F-1 international students have limitations on paid employment and number of allowable work hours both on and off campus, they often get left out during the academic year and during summers on important internships and employment which could provide invaluable CV experience to enhance their education process and prospects post-graduation.
Green card holders have the freedom to travel in and out of the United States without the need for additional visas or entry permits. This flexibility is particularly advantageous for students who may want to visit their home country during breaks or explore international opportunities without the hassle of visa-related constraints.
Green card holders have access to various social benefits and protections available to U.S. residents, including healthcare programs, social security benefits, and legal rights and protections.
Pathway to US Passport & US Citizenship
Holding a green card puts you on a pathway to U.S. citizenship. After meeting the required residency period of two years and half out of five years, and fulfilling other eligibility criteria, you may have the opportunity to apply for naturalization and become a U.S. citizen. Students often complete the 2.5-year residency requirement for citizenship as they are already in the United States completing their studies for 9 months each year.
If you want to learn more about green cards check out our blog: Why is a green card better than an H1B visa?
Consulting with an immigration lawyer can help you get more detailed information and guidance on how to navigate the benefits and responsibilities of holding a green card as a student in the United States. The Step Global Dubai-based immigration consultants would be happy to schedule a one-to-one virtual or in-person consultation to determine your eligibility and discuss with you and your family any concern you may have. Our qualified and experienced lawyers who specialize in immigration law also have knowledge of the Portugal Golden Visa and Canada Start-Up Visa.
Immigration Consultancy in Dubai
Step Global is a leading immigration consultancy in Dubai with over 13 years of experience in residency and citizenship by investment programs. Over the last decade, Step Global along with its legal teams have assisted thousands of families obtaining their US Green Card through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Our team also provides guidance to families wishing to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa and Canada Start-Up Visa.
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