Green Card Applicant Lawyers

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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Most Common Immigration Law Issues:

What is a Permanent Resident?

A Permanent Resident of the U.S. is a person who has been authorized to live and work permanently in the country. Though not yet fully a citizen, a permanent resident is granted proof of their status through what is known as a “green card”. An alien can obtain a green card, or permanent resident status, through many different avenues.

Who Can Apply for a Green Card?

Some common ways a person can obtain a green card are through:

What does the Green Card Application Process involve?

The application process for a green card can sometimes be quite lengthy- it involves several steps with waiting periods in between. Some of the most important steps include:

When can a Green Card Applicant legally stay in the U.S.?

If you are married to an American citizen, then your stay in the U.S. becomes legal as soon as you file your application for a green card, also known as an Adjustment of Status.  Your stay is legal even if you originally entered the U.S. on a visitor visa, for example, and the visa expires while you are awaiting your green card (assuming, of course, that your original visa application was truthful and valid).

Once your application for a green card is submitted, you can legally wait in the U.S. for your green card and even apply for a work permit.

Can a Green Card Applicant Who is Married to a Permanent Resident Stay in the U.S.?

A permanent resident (green card holder) in the U.S. is not eligible to submit an Adjustment of Status application on behalf of his foreign spouse.  Rather, a permanent resident must submit an I-130 visa petition. 

Unlike the Adjustment of Status application, an I-130 visa petition does not make a foreign spouse's stay in the U.S. legal.  The foreign spouse or a permanent resident must leave the U.S. after his or her visa runs out and wait for the green card abroad.  If the U.S. discovers that the foreign spouse has lived in the U.S. for more than a year illegally, the foreign spouse cannot return to the U.S. for another 10 years.

Should I Consult an Immigration Lawyer for my Immigration Issue?

Entry into the United States is very difficult, whether or not you have a visa or green card. An immigration attorney can help you prepare for your entrance, and ensure you are not turned away at the border. An immigration attorney can also help you with the detailed procedural rules when applying for a visa or green card. 

Once your application for a green card is submitted, you can legally wait in the U.S. for your green card and even apply for a work permit.

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Last Modified: 08-17-2011 03:20 PM PDT

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