Green Card Attorneys in Sacramento, CA, Helping Clients Obtain Legal Permanent Residence
A green card (officially known as a Permanent Resident Card) allows an immigrant to lawfully reside and work within the borders of the United States of America. While it is possible for some immigrants to skip the green card part of the process (for example, members of the U.S. military), most foreign-born nationals who come looking to live in the USA must become green card holders first and foremost.
The process by which an individual may obtain a green card usually starts with the foreign national securing an immigrant visa. Then, they would sign and submit the I-485 form, which is the document used for a green card application. How long the process takes from there may depend on a number of things, such as whether the applicant is currently residing in the U.S., whether the applicant has any red flags in their history, whether there were any errors in the files being submitted and the current state of how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Any errors or failures to meet deadlines could result in a green card application being denied and, thusly, the applicant being refused the rights of permanent residency. To better ensure that all steps have been performed correctly, it is highly advisable that all green card applicants consider hiring the legal representation of an experienced immigration attorney.
Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., has years of experience helping clients with cases similar to yours obtain legal permanent residence in the U.S. As your attorneys, we will help guide you with compassion, respect, and confidence through the winding labyrinth that is the ever-changing U.S. immigration system.
If you have any questions or concerns about how to proceed, contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation for legal advice.
What Are the Different Green Card Categories?
Whether you are coming to America for employment, a reunion with relatives, or are making an investment in the US, there are many different routes that you may take if you hope to obtain a permanent resident card.
The different green card eligibility categories include:
• Asylum seekers: those who petitioned for asylum at least a year prior may seek legal permanent residence.
• Diplomatic reasons: Those born in the U.S. to foreign diplomats stationed in America may apply for permanent resident status. Similarly, foreign diplomats stationed in the U.S. who cannot safely return to their home country may also apply for green cards.
• Employment-based immigration: those with special skills, extraordinary abilities, and unique work experience may be able to apply for a green card as an immigrant worker.
• Family-based immigration: the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouse, unmarried children under age 21, and parents) typically have the most straightforward pathway to obtaining a green card. A fiancé(e) who intends to marry a U.S. citizen and a widow(er) of a U.S. citizen may also obtain green cards. Family-based preference categories come into play for other types of relatives, such as the married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens or the spouse of a lawful permanent resident. To learn more, please consult with a professional.
• Investors: those who plan to invest close to a million dollars in a commercial enterprise in the USA may be able to obtain permanent residency if the business opportunity creates full-time jobs for American workers.
• Refugee status: individuals who were admitted into the United States as refugees over a year ago may now begin the green card application process.
• Religious workers: foreign nationals who are coming to the USA to work for nonprofit religious organizations may obtain green cards.
• Self-petitioners who have been victims of abuse: the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows victims of domestic violence to self-petition and take control of the green card application away from their abusive partner or relative.
• Victims of human trafficking and serious crimes: Those brought to America against their will as victims of serious crimes can receive a T-nonimmigrant visa, which allows them to remain in the U.S. for up to four years. During this time, they may begin the process of becoming legal permanent residents.
How Long is the Waiting Period and How Long Are Green Cards Good For?
The length of time you may expect to wait from the initial submission of your application and the approval or denial from USCIS varies on several things.
Applicants applying via consular processing, meaning they petition for a green card while residing overseas, may expect to hear back in less than six months. Those petitioning for lawful permanent residency while physically living in the U.S. may expect the process to take longer, up to a year or more.
Typically, a green card is good for a decade and will then need to be renewed, provided that the green card holder has not already become a citizen by then.
How Does a Criminal Record Impact the Chances of Obtaining a Permanent Resident Card in California?
Minor offenses such as speeding tickets and misdemeanors may be forgivable for green card applicants. However, other past crimes may disqualify an applicant from receiving their permanent resident status, regardless of whether that crime was committed on foreign or American soil.
Gun crimes, domestic abuse, drug crimes, and other offenses may be disqualifying. Hire legal professionals to better defend your case.
Contact Our Law Firm to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Immigration Lawyer Today
If you are looking to apply for a green card and become a permanent resident, you want to ensure that you have all your forms in order and all deadlines are properly met. There are many opportunities for things to go wrong in the application process, and an experienced immigration attorney can be an invaluable ally in your corner.
To schedule a free case evaluation with our Sacramento, CA law firm, please call us at (916) 244-1718.