How to Get a Green Card

What is a Green Card?

A Green Card, also known as a Permanent Resident Card, is a photo ID card that a person receives when they become a Permanent Resident.  Permanent Residency is an immigration status that authorizes a person to live and work in the United States permanently.

How are Green Cards Obtained?

Most Green Cards are obtained by sponsored immigrant petitions.  Family sponsors who are citizens or Permanent Residents can file family petitions for their spouse, fiancée, child, or parent.  Some court-appointed guardians and foreign national single parents residing in the U.S. can file Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) petitions for abandoned or neglected minor children under their care.  Employer sponsors can file petitions for certain skilled employees.

As a Green Card Lawyer, I Help Clients and Their Families Seeking Permanent Residency

In some situations, Green Cards can be obtained by self-petition, meaning that instead of using a sponsor, the individual files an immigration petition on their own behalf.   Such self-petitions include Asylum, Refugee, EB-5 Investment, Violence against Women Act (VAWA), Widower of a U.S. Citizen, T-Visa, U-Visa, V Nonimmigrant, Diversity Immigration Visa Program (also known as the Green Card Lottery,  Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act, job specific programs including  Afghan/Iraqi translator, Afghan who assisted the U.S. government, Armed Forces  Member, Informant (S Nonimmigrant), Nato-6 Nonimmigrant, International Organization Employee, Physician National Interest Waiver, Iraqi who assisted the U.S. government, Religious Worker, and country specific programs including Amerasian Child of a U.S. Citizen, American Indian Born in Canada, Indochinese Parole Adjustment Act, Cuban Native or Citizen, Lautenberg Parolee, Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act, and Help HAITI Act of 2010.

The Green Card Process

Obtaining a Green Card generally involves a multi-stage process.

First, the sponsor or self-petitioner files the immigrant petition and required documents with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Then, if USCIS approves the immigrant petition, an additional application and documents must be filed.

If the person who needs the Green Card (the immigrant) is living outside of the U.S., this second stage is called Consular Processing and is handled by the U.S. Consulate in the person’s home county.   If the immigrant is already living inside the U.S., the second stage is called Adjustment of Status and is handled by USCIS.  In some cases the immigrant petition and application for Adjustment of Status can be filed at the same time, and this is called concurrent filing.  The green card process is often concluded by an interview, where an Officer will review the immigrant’s documents and ask many questions to test the immigrant’s truthfulness and qualifications to become a Permanent Resident.

Do You Qualify for a Green Card?

Before filing for a Green Card, an Immigrant should carefully consider whether they meet the qualifications for a Green Card and whether they are deportable.  I help clients by explaining the Green Card requirements, as well as any other factors that might impact a client from receiving a Green Card.  This is important, as immigrant petitions and interviews have many technical, complicated questions and documentation requirements.

For instance, if a sponsor or immigrant makes a mistake in an application or interview, it may result in the immigrant being unable to obtain a Green Card, or worse.  In some instances, persons who have entered the United States illegally, allowed their visas to expire, or committed certain crimes are deportable and temporarily or permanently ineligible for Permanent Residency.   If a person files for a Green Card and their application is denied, it may result in them being deported and barred from re-entering the United States(although in some cases a person can obtain Post-Conviction Relief, a Waiver, or other immigration relief to remove the risk of deportation and make them eligible for a Green Card).  As a Green Card attorney, I can advise you of any issues that may pose a risk in seeking a Green Card. 

How I Help Clients Seeking to Obtain Green Cards

I help clients carefully evaluate their qualifications for Green Cards, obtain Post-Conviction Relief, waivers, and other forms of relief to help them become eligible for a Green Card, complete immigrant petitions, compile all necessary documentation, and prepare for their interviews to obtain their Green Cards.  If you are in need of affordable representation to obtain a Green Card, please call me.