To get United States citizenship, one must have had a permanent residence card, called a green card, for at least five years or have been married to a U.S. citizen for three years or more.
Sometimes, the hardest part of writing a thank-you note is beginning. This is particularly true in cases where the card is directed to a professional recipient, such as a work client or a boss, with whom the writer may not have as close of a personal relationship with. In situations where people have trouble figuring out what to say, it helps to follow a basic template. Following the basics, one begins with a greeting or salutation, acknowledges the gift and ends with a reiteration of the present and its meaning. Although people can follow templates, they should remember to customize each letter with their own words that shows a sincere appreciation for the specific gift, thoughtful act or other activity.
The Opening Regardless of whether it's directed to a comrade or a professional colleague, a letter should begin with an opening greeting or salutation. The salutation will vary based on the person's relationship to the recipient. In formal occasions, such as thanking an in-law for a wedding gift, people should address the recipient by his or her full name. If there are multiple parties being addressed in the letter — such as if the gift was given by a couple — both individuals' names should be listed in the salutation.
Adding a Personal Note Immediately following the greeting, the letter should proceed with a generic but meaningful phrase of thanks, such as "your gift was very thoughtful," or "your present of (fill in the blank) was just what I needed." That phrase should segue into the next part of the thank-you letter, which is elaborating on the value of the gift, its meaning and its benefits with a personal note. This section need not be long — just a few sentences should suffice — but it should show the recipient exactly what about the gift made it so special. For instance, a person who received a set of utensils as a wedding or housewarming gift might say that the present enabled him or her to eat the first meal at a new home or enjoy a first dessert as a married couple.
Wrapping Up Following the personal section of the note, one should begin closing the letter. If the writer intends to see the person again, he or she can add a nice line about looking forward to seeing the gift giver next. If there is a specific date planned for the reunion, this can be reiterated in the conclusion. Those expecting to see the gift giver at an upcoming birthday, wedding or baby shower, for example, can note that they're looking forward to catching up at that event. Otherwise, the writer can say something along the lines of "it was great to see you at my wedding, and I'm looking forward to seeing you again in the near future." It's never a bad idea to mention that lines of communication (phone or email) will be open for the gift giver whenever he or she wants to make contact.
The letter is concluded with a signature and should be sent no later than a week or two after the gift is received. However, even if a longer period of time passes, one should remember that it's better to send a note late than never.