Green Card Process Lawyers
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What Is a Green Card?
A green card is an identification card that signifies that a person has lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in the United States. A person with LPR status has various rights, including the right to live permanently in the country, the right to work, and rights to various government benefits such as financial aid.
Green cards are generally obtained through three main avenues: employment, marriage, or a relative. There are different processes associated with each of these avenues.
What Is the Process for Obtaining a Green Card?
Basic steps for obtaining a green card include filing the appropriate application form, paying the form fees, and providing immigration authorities with the appropriate documents. Depending on the method of green card application (i.e., employment, marriage, or family), other steps may be needed. These may include: obtaining labor certification with the employer; fulfilling all marriage requirements; or proving family relationships.
Three main requirements must be met, regardless of the method of application:
- The applicant must have a sponsor, such as an employer, a spouse, or a family member
- The green card application must be filed at the appropriate American embassy or consular office
- The applicant must fulfill all requirements for being considered admissible into the U.S. (i.e., no serious criminal records, financial stability, medical soundness, and other requirements)
What Are the Green Card Process Times?
The processing time for a green card application will depend on each individual applicant. For instance, the immigration department may request additional documents, such as extra medical records or bank account information. These can take time to process, and immigration offices can be backlogged. Also, any serious issues with the application, such as accusations of fraud or incomplete imformation, may result on a delay of the green card priority date.
Times may also vary according to the type of green card being applied for. For marriage-based green cards, adjustment of status from conditional to permanent residence is usually granted two years after the initial residency is granted. For employment-based green cards, the process can take anywhere from 18 months to four years, depending on the type of employment. Family-based petitions will vary depending on the type of relationship involved. Generally speaking, closer relatives such as children and parents can have shorter waiting periods (a year or two), whereas more distant relatives may take much longer (sometimes up to ten years).
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Green Card Application?
The green card process can sometimes take quite a long time, and may involve many different forms and documents. Any mistakes or errors with the application process can cause delays or even a rejection of the application. You may wish to hire an immigration attorney near you if you need assistance with the green card application process. Your lawyer can help guide you through the process, and can inform you of what you need to do in order to complete the process.
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Last Modified: 08-26-2015 10:00 AM PDT
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