Green card immigration law

Guiding you through becoming a U.S. permanent resident

green cards and permanent residence services

We can help you obtain a green card in the U.S.

A green card is a colloquial term for U.S. permanent resident status. The U.S. government issues about 1 million green cards annually. There are many benefits attached with attaining a green card in the U.S. which is why hundreds of thousands of people apply for it every year. Through a U.S. green card you will be able to live and work lawfully in the U.S. as a permanent resident. While a permanent resident is not the same as attaining U.S. citizenship, still it offers many benefits and will make your life easier in the U.S. However, it is crucial to note that the process for becoming a U.S. permanent resident is quite complex and only so many people manage to get through with it successfully. This is why we are here to guide you through becoming a U.S. permanent resident.

Green card process

How to apply for a green card?

Applying for a green card to live permanently in the United States starts out with some basic questions. Where is the foreign national? Is he or she abroad, or here in the United States?

If inside the United States, what status does the foreign national have now? Does the status the foreign national currently possess allow him/her to apply directly for a green card?

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If not, can the foreign national change that status to another one in order to apply for a green card? Does the foreign national have any problematic issues in his/her personal background that may cause complications in the green card application process? For example, does the foreign national have unlawful presence? Has he/she worked without authorization? Are there criminal issues? These questions must be fully addressed in order to properly assess a foreign national’s eligibility for a green card.

If a foreign national is eligible for a green card and the foreign national already resides in the United States, he/she may apply for adjustment of status by filing Form I-485 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Alternatively, if the foreign national is abroad, he/she may apply for an immigrant visa via consular processing .

Green card process

How to apply for a green card?

The process for applying for a Green Card may vary from person to person depending on which category they are eligible under when filing for a Green Card. Still, the following steps are following for most Green Card applications.
  • The Green Card sponsor will have to submit a petition on behalf of the applicant. Usually it is a family-based or employment-based green card petition. The applicant will have to prove that he/she has a familial or employment relationship with a U.S. citizen permanent resident or employer to become eligible for a Green Card.
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  • Once the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services receives and approves the petition, the applicant will have to submit his/her Green Card application, which can either be an adjustment of status or a consular application.
  • After your Green Card application has been submitted, the U.S. embassy will schedule a biometrics appointment for you and run the information collected through the FBI’s database.
  • Next, you will have to undergo the Green Card interview, which is one of the most important steps if this entire process.
  • Shortly after your interview, you will receive the decision on your application. The U.S. Government will either approve or deny your Green Card application.

Most common options for obtaining a green card

Generally, foreign nationals obtain their permanent resident status through a family-based or an employment-based sponsorship.

Additional ways to become a U.S. permanent resident include applying for asylum, cooperating with law enforcement if the foreign national has been victimized by crimes, proving to the U.S. immigration authorities that the foreign national has suffered domestic abuse, submitting self-petitions based on extraordinary skills or through financial investments in the U.S. economy that lead to job creation.

The ways in which a foreign national may successfully obtain a green card are as varied as they are complex. For more information about the U.S. immigration system and the different ways to achieving permanent resident status, read our article Path to U.S. Citizenship.

Most common options for obtaining a green card

First preference (EB-1) Green Card

Priority workers: It covers those people who have an extraordinary ability, including business professionals, academics, researchers, scientists, artists or athletics. Family of EB-1 visa holders can also apply for entry to the U.S. through the I-140 Form.

Second preference (EB-2) Green Card

Persons with advanced degrees or person with exceptional ability: Such a visa is available to professionals who hold an advanced degree and at least ten years of experience in the relevant field or those who have acquired an employment in the national interest of the U.S.

Third preference (EB-3) Green Card

Skilled workers, professionals or other workers: These are available to those people who hold a bachelor’s degree and are skilled or unskilled laborers and have a non-temporary offer of employment at the U.S.

Fourth preference (EB-4) Green Card

Special immigrants: It is a special category of visa which is available to specific religious workers, employees of the U.S. foreign service posts, and retired employees of international organizations.

Potential problems while becoming a permanent resident

How your application could get denied

Green card immigration issues:

Fail to meet application requirements or attend appointments

Forms, proper documentation, and fees all have to be submitted appropriately. Appointments also need to be attended for interviews or fingerprinting. You must attend these or reschedule before being approved, with the possibility of denial.

Health or medical disorders

If you fail to provide the correct medical records, if you are a drug abuser, someone who is deemed a threat to themselves or others, or have diseases found outside the US and could be dangerous to the public, all of these reasons can be used to deny your application

Criminal background or security related

People convicted of various crimes may not be permitted to enter the US. These include but are not limited to repeat criminal offenders, money laundering or fraud, drug trafficking, prostitution, and commiting crimes against religious freedoms.

Seen as likely to become dependent on the government

If it is determined that you will be reliant on the government for longterm healthcare and financial support by the USCIS or consular officer, you may be denied. If you can provide an affidavit of support the someone who is working full time and is responsible for you, you are more likely to be approved but can still be denied.

Immigration violations

If you have entered the US illegally or enter by lying or misrepresentation and are abusing the visa process, you may be denied

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Applying for a permanent residency in the U.S. is not an easy process. In fact not many people are successful in attaining the permanent resident status in the U.S. You will benefit a lot by hiring the services of a permanent resident immigration lawyer who will be able to explain your options to you, help you with your application, and protect your interests through the entire immigration process.

We can provide you with services that will help you achieve your immigration goals in a time-efficient manner. Whatever your circumstances are, our professionals will ensure that you get your permanent residency in the U.S.

Get a one-on-one consultation with Jane so she can identify your needs on how we can help you.

See our Frequently Asked Questions below for commonly asked questions about green cards.

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Frequently asked green card questions

A green card is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that allows the person to live in the U.S. and enjoy various benefits of being a permanent resident in the U.S. It allows the person to live and work in the U.S. lawfully.

Foreign nationals who have lived in the U.S., either lawfully or unlawfully since 1972 can apply for a Green Card and are known as longtime resident green card holders.

As long as you continue to have a valid work visa status or a valid employment authorization document, you may continue working during the pendency of your green card process.
There are various ways a green card can be obtained and each of them has their own timeline for processing. Typical processing times may average anywhere from 1 year to several years, depending on visa number restrictions, government delays, and the specific fact patterns in each case.

U.S. citizenship is the highest status achieved which the person gains the same rights as one who was born in the United States. You are allowed to live, work, vote, travel as you please and you cannot be deported (as long as your citizenship was not attained unlawfully).

Green Card holders are able to live and work in the U.S. If you are to travel internationally, you need your home country’s passport, you cannot vote, and you can be deported under certain circumstances.