“The Immigration office makes you jump through all kinds of hoops to get a green card.”

English Lesson: The Immigration office makes you jump through all kinds of hoops to get a green card.

You moved to the U.S. a few years ago from another country. When you came there, you had to get a permanent residence card. It was difficult to get. Now you're talking to a coworker whose friend is applying for a permanent residence card. You say this to describe how difficult the process was.

The Immigration office makes you jump through all kinds of hoops to get a green card.

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the Immigration office

"Immigration" means moving into a country.

Governments have departments which control the immigration into the country. These departments can have a variety of different official names depending on the country, but in everyday English they're called "Immigration", "the Immigration department", or "the Immigration office".

jump through hoops

To understand this phrase, imagine a little dog which has been trained to do circus tricks. In order to get its food, it has to jump through several hoops or rings: one big one, one small one, some very high up, and maybe one that's been set on fire.

When people make you do a lot of unnecessary work, you can say that they're "making you jump through hoops". For example, when you're applying for a green card you have to:

  • Fill out an application
  • Sign the application in front of a licensed "notary public" who confirms that you signed it
  • Make copies of your documents like your passport, marriage license, etc.
  • Get a medical checkup and vaccinations
  • Get confirmation that you have no police record
  • Get all documents translated into English
  • Have an interview

These steps are complicated and annoying, so you can call it "jumping through hoops."

Another example is when you try to cancel your telephone bill. The telephone company doesn't want you to quit easily, so they make you "jump through hoops."

all kinds of (something)

"All kinds of ___" means "a lot of ___" or "many different kinds of ___". In the example above, it means that people who want to immigrate to the U.S. have to do a lot of work to become a permanent resident.

We have access to all kinds of personal information about the patients.

green card

In the U.S., the card that foreigners get when they've become legal permanent residents is called a "green card". At one time in the past, this card was green, but now it's a light yellow color.