Having a Permanent Resident Card allows noncitizens to work and live permanently in the United States. If you have a Green Card, it is legal for you to stay in the U.S. without seeking citizenship.
For many immigrants, obtaining a Green Card is all they need to build a satisfying life in the U.S. However, the steps you must take to apply for a Green Card will vary depending on your individual situation. It is a complex process that regularly frustrates applicants who have made mistakes.
Why Should You Hire an Immigration Lawyer to Help with Your Green Card Application?
Hiring an immigration lawyer to help you apply for a Green Card isn’t required. However, if you don’t have legal representation, mistakes can occur, and complications can arise that delay the process or lead to a denied application. Navigating complicated laws and procedures on your own without a lawyer can be overwhelming. An experienced Florida Green Card lawyer with Florida Law Advisers, P.A., can guide you through the complex immigration process, protect your rights, and help you apply for a Green Card in a timely manner.
To get an experienced Florida Green Card immigration attorney started on your immigration needs, contact Florida Law Advisers online for a consultation today.
Can An Immigration Lawyer Speed Up The Green Card Application Process?
The best way an immigration attorney can help you speed up your application is by knowing immigration laws and the application process and avoiding mistakes that cause delay or disqualify your application. There are many potential legal issues that can arise when an immigration official reviews an application.
One wrong step in the immigration paperwork and deadline process could result in delays that last months, even years. And while you have rights, immigration, and deportation officials are not required to help you or explain your rights.
If you don’t know how to address the problem and get your application back on track, you could lose your opportunity to move permanently to the U.S. Our immigration attorneys can review the issue and resolve it so your application moves forward.
Florida Law Advisers, P.A., is a nationally recognized law firm based in Tampa, FL. We have helped thousands of immigrants obtain Green Cards and naturalized citizenship in central Florida. Every journey is easier and faster with someone who has gone there before and knows the way. With an experienced Green Card attorney from Florida Law Advisers at your side, you will avoid mistakes, be prepared for immigration interviews, and have trusted legal advice about every option available to you. Seek legal help with your immigration matters.
Green Card Eligibility
To obtain a Green Card, you must demonstrate that your situation makes you eligible under one of the following eight categories:
- Green Card through Family: An immediate family member of a U.S. citizen (spouse, underage child, parent); another relative of a U.S. citizen or of a legal permanent resident; fiancé of a U.S. citizen or the fiancé’s child; widow(er) of a U.S. citizen; abused spouse, underage child or parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
- Green Card through Employment: Workers in three categories of preference: 1) immigrant workers with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors and researchers; certain multinational managers and executives; 2) members of the professions holding advanced degrees or who have exceptional ability (including requests for national interest waivers); and 3) skilled workers, professionals, or other workers.
- Green Card as Special Immigrant: Religious workers, special juvenile immigrants, Afghanistan or Iraq nationals previously employed by the U.S., international broadcasters coming to work in U.S. media or the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) or a USAGM grantee, retired officers or employees of an eligible international organization or NATO, or eligible family members of such an employee.
- Green Card through Refugee or Asylee Status: Granted asylum status at least one year ago or admitted as a refugee at least one year ago.
- Green Card for Human Trafficking and Crime Victims: With a current T non-immigration visa or a U non-immigration visa, respectively.
- Green Card for Victims of Abuse: Abused spouse, underage child or parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; child who has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by parent and has Special Immigrant Juvenile status; abused spouse or child of a Cuban native or citizen; abused spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident who received his or her Green Card based on Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA).
- Green Card through Other Categories: Qualifying Liberian nationals, or the spouses, underage children or unmarried adult children of qualifying Liberian nationals (Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness); selectees of the Department of State’s Diversity Immigrant Visa Program lottery; Cuban natives or citizens, spouses or children of a Cuban native or citizen, or abused spouses or children of a Cuban native or citizen (Cuban Adjustment Act); spouses, children or abused spouses or children of a lawful permanent resident who received his or her Green Card based on the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA); parolee paroled into the U.S. as a Lautenberg parolee; natives or citizens of Vietnam, Kampuchea (Cambodia), or Laos who were paroled into the U.S. on or before Oct. 1, 1997 from Vietnam under the Orderly Departure Program, a refugee camp in East Asia, or a displaced person camp administered by UNHCR in Thailand; American Indians born in Canada; persons born in the United States to a foreign diplomat; individuals stationed in the United States as a foreign diplomat or high ranking official and who are unable to return home (Section 13 (diplomat)).
- Green Card through Registry: You may be eligible to register for a Green Card if you have resided continuously in the U.S. since before Jan. 1, 1972.
A Tampa immigration attorney with Florida Law Advisers can review your immigration status and help you determine what category of eligibility you meet for a Green Card. Our law office can help you collect any documents or pieces of evidence necessary to support your application.
Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of status is the process for applying for lawful permanent resident status (applying for a Green Card) when you are present in the United States. This means you may get a Green Card without having to return to your home country to complete visa processing.
The steps are to:
- Determine whether you are eligible to apply for a Green Card (see above).
- You or someone else must file an immigrant petition for you (if applicable). Most people who apply for a Green Card will need to complete at least two forms — an immigrant petition and a Green Card application. There are eight petitions aligned with each eligibility category from which you must choose the correct one.
- Check visa availability (if applicable). In general, you may not file your Form I-485 (immediately below) until a visa is available in your category.
- File Form I-485. If you are in the United States and are eligible for adjustment of status, you may file a Form I-485. If you are applying to adjust your status to a lawful permanent resident under section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, you must complete both Form I-485 and Form I-485 Supplement A, Adjustment of Status Under Section 245(i).
- Go to your Application Support Center appointment. After you file a Form I-485, you’ll get a letter directing you to a local Application Support Center to provide your fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature. These will be used to verify your identity and conduct required background and security checks.
- Go to your interview (if applicable). You may be required to answer questions under oath or affirmation about your Form I-485.
- Respond to request for additional evidence (if applicable). If you are mailed a request, it will tell you what information is required, where to send the evidence and the date by which you must respond to the request. If you do not respond on time, the officer may deny your Form I-485.
- Receive a decision. When USCIS makes a decision on your application, they will send you a written decision notice. If your application is approved, you generally will receive an approval notice first and then your Green Card.
If your application is denied, the decision notice from immigration services will tell you the reason why your application is denied and whether you may appeal the decision. Generally, you cannot appeal the decision to deny an adjustment of status application. However, you may be eligible to file a motion to reopen or reconsider your application.
A Green Card immigration lawyer from Florida Law Advisers, P.A. can help you with each of these steps, including the crucial step of selecting and completing the appropriate petition.
Sponsors for Green Cards
A sponsor is an individual who agrees to use their financial resources to support a person applying for a Green Card and seeking to become a permanent resident. They must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States who is related to the person who wants to become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. Employers can also sponsor workers who are applying for Green Cards.
A sponsor must be able to prove that their household income is equal to or higher than 125% of the U.S. poverty level for their household size. A sponsor on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States who is sponsoring their spouse or child only needs an income equal to 100 percent of the U.S. poverty level for their household size. The sponsor must provide their U.S. federal income tax return for the most recent tax year as well as proof of current employment.
The sponsor’s responsibility usually lasts until the Green Card holder either becomes a U.S. citizen or is credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years).
Under certain eligibility categories, you do not need a sponsor to get a Green Card. We can advise you about your needs and help your sponsor complete the necessary paperwork to sponsor you if required.
Get Help from Our Florida Immigration Attorneys
Immigration law is incredibly complex, and each of the many forms required to be a permanent resident or sponsor a Green Card applicant requires supporting documentation. Don’t risk a mistake that could delay a green card for many months or years. Let an immigration attorney at Florida Law Advisers guide you through the application process of applying for permanent residency and ensure that your application is complete from the start.
We will be your advocate to help you get a Green Card and move here permanently for work. To get started with a consultation, call or contact us online today.