Getting your green card refers to becoming a lawful permanent resident of the United States. There are different avenues to obtain a green card, and people might seek this status because they want to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely. Whatever your reason for wanting a green card might be, it can provide you with security and rights that a visa cannot.
Applying for a green card can be a complex process, however, and any errors can result in a delay or even a denial of your permanent resident status. It is important to have the assistance and guidance of a green card lawyer near you.
In many situations, you must have a close family member or another person or employer sponsor you. This party files a petition, and if the petition is accepted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you then file a green card application. Whether you are sponsoring someone else or applying for yourself, you should have an immigration lawyer navigating the process.
The next step depends on whether you are in or out of the U.S., as you might apply for your green card through adjustment of status (in the U.S.) or consular processing (outside of the U.S.). You must attend a biometric screening and provide fingerprints and photos. You then will undergo an interview with an immigration official before you receive a decision on your application.
To qualify for a green card, you must be “admissible” to the United States. If, for some reason, such as a past criminal conviction, you are deemed inadmissible, you should immediately speak with a green card lawyer near you. There are ways an attorney can seek a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility, such as certain criminal offenses, and a skilled lawyer can advise if a waiver might be available in your situation. If you are inadmissible and do not properly seek a waiver, it can be quite challenging to receive your green card.
Depending on why you qualified for a green card, you might need to apply to remove conditions from your green card 90 days before your conditional card expires in two years. Otherwise, your card is valid for ten years. You can use your card to prove that you are eligible for employment, receive a driver’s license and Social Security card, and reenter the U.S. after a trip that is less than a year long.
The Law Office of Robert D. Ahlgren and Associates, P.C. assists individuals and families with the green card application process, as well as appealing denials or seeking waivers of inadmissibility. If you are sponsoring a family member or you are interested in obtaining a green card for yourself, schedule an appointment to discuss how we can help you. Contact us today so we can assess your situation.