Chicago Green Card Lawyer

Chicago Green Card Lawyer

Whereas a work visa or employment-based visa allows for legal entry for non-immigrants into the United States for limited periods of time, usually for specific jobs, permanent residency, or a “green card” or immigrant visa will allow entry into the country when there is an intention of staying. Anybody needing to acquire a green card in the Chicago area should speak to a Chicago green card lawyer.

Green card holders are allowed to work any job in the United States, and permanent resident status is issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Priority status is given to spouses, dependent children, and parents, while green cards for other family members will be subject to annual quotas, and approval can often take several years.

How Green Cards Work

Foreign nationals can obtain permanent residency in the United States by way of the following:

  • Sponsorship by a family member
  • Special employment
  • A major investment of at least $900,000
  • Diversity lottery
  • Referral by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as a refugee or asylum request 
  • Undocumented registry provision 

People related to United States citizens could be eligible for permanent residency based on their degree of relation. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, people who have the following relationships with United States citizens can be eligible to obtain green cards:

  • Immediate relatives such as spouses, unmarried children who are under 21 years of age, and the parents of United States citizens who are over 21 years of age
  • Family members who fall under preference categories, such as unmarried daughters or sons who are over 21 years of age, married children who are of any age, and the siblings of United States citizens who are over 21 years of age
  • Certain family members of green card holders
  • Special category members, such as survivors of domestic violence or people born to foreign diplomats in the United States

People seeking permanent resident status may be able to obtain the status through job offers, investing in enterprises creating jobs in the United States, demonstrating extraordinary ability, obtaining a National Interest Waiver, or having a job that fits into a special category. Permanent worker visa preference categories include:

  • First Preference (EB-1) — Reserved for persons with extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics; outstanding researchers or professors; and multinational executives and managers. No labor certification is required.
  • Second Preference (EB-2) — Reserved for people who are members of professions having advanced degrees or people who have exceptional abilities in the sciences, arts, or business. Labor certification is required unless the applicant obtains a national interest waiver. 
  • Third Preference EB-3 — Reserved for professionals, skilled workers, and other workers. Labor certification is required.
  • Fourth Preference EB-4 — Reserved for so-called special immigrants, which is a category that includes some religious workers, employees of United States foreign service posts, noncitizen minors who are wards of courts in the United States, retired employees of international organizations, and certain other classes of noncitizens. No labor certification is required.
  • Fifth Preference EB-5 — Reserved for business investors who invest $1.8 million or $900,000 in new commercial enterprises employing a minimum of 10 full-time U.S. workers. No labor certification is required.

Refugees and asylees entering the United States can generally be eligible for permanent resident status after one year in the United States for refugees or after one year after the grant of asylum for asylees. While asylees will not be required to apply for permanent resident status after one year, refugees will have to.

Several issues could result in the denial of an application for permanent residency. You will want to retain legal counsel for assistance with a possible immigration appeal.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Chicago Immigration Attorney

If you need assistance securing permanent residency or a green card in Chicago, make sure that you are working with an experienced lawyer. The Law Office of Robert D. Ahlgren helps clients throughout the Chicagoland area obtain the approval necessary to secure green cards.

Our firm has been handling immigration cases since 1973. You can call us or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation that will allow us to take a longer look at your case and outline all of your legal options.