What Is a Green Card?
Many people view the United States as the land of opportunity, and many believe it to be the right place to pursue their dreams and raise their families. However, immigrants often discover very quickly how complicated the path to United States citizenship can be.
If you wish to become a US citizen, you need to first attain lawful permanent resident status and obtain a green card. A green card, which is called a Permanent Resident Card (PRC) or Alien Registration Receipt Card (ARR), is a document that grants permanent residency in the United States without any time restrictions. It is typically issued to people wanting to migrate to the United States permanently or those who have been granted asylum.
The US green card is a gateway to a life of opportunities, but it can be tough to get one. You might need help from a skilled immigration attorney to guide you and help you ascertain your eligibility.
What Are the Green Card Eligibility Categories?
The law that governs the immigration process is called the Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA. The INA creates several categories of immigration and highlights those who are eligible to become permanent residents in each category as follows;
- Family-based immigration: Applicants here may include immigrants with a spouse, parent, or unmarried child under 21 years old living in the United States lawfully.
- Employment-based immigration: Immigrants in this category have an employer willing to offer them a job and petition for them to legally come to the US.
- Humanitarian immigration covers refugees and asylees (people seeking protection from persecution).
- Diversity lottery visas are given out through a random drawing.
Although many extended family members don’t qualify for a family-based green card, widows and widowers who were married to U.S. citizens at the time of their death do. But, just like spouses of living green card holders or U.S. citizens who apply for a marriage-based green card, they must show that their marriage was authentic in order to obtain lawful permanent residency.
There are several subcategories of workers who can apply for employment-based green cards. The process can involve perm labor certification, which basically makes sure that the foreign employee is not taking the place of a qualified U.S. worker. In some cases, foreign employees’ spouses and children may also qualify for obtaining a green card.
How Do I Apply for a Green Card?
The green card application process can be long and tedious. Suppose you are a person seeking immigration to the US. In that case, It is important to understand the process and what it entails. You might find the following checklist helpful.
- First, you need to find out if you are eligible for a green card. This entails checking your eligibility based on the criteria set out on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
- If you’re eligible for naturalization, the next step in the application process is to decide the type of green card you’ll apply for. Your green card application could be family-based, employment-based, or diversity lottery-based.
- You need to put all your relevant documents together. You may need birth certificates, marriage certificates, employment records, alien employment certification or labor certification, and biometric records, including fingerprints and photographs.
- Once your documents are in order, you must complete the green card application form and file it with USCIS along with the supporting documents. USCIS allows you to file your application online, so you do not need to forward hard copies of your application to them.
- USCIS will then assess the application based on the individual’s eligibility and make a decision.
The process of applying for a green card and receiving feedback on the application’s success takes some months. However, this waiting period is worth it because if your application is approved, you are well on your way to becoming a US citizen and living your American dream.
Do I Need a Green Card Lawyer?
If your green card application is approved, you will be able to stay in the U.S. indefinitely. However, if your green card application is denied, you typically have to leave the country and reapply for a green card from outside the US.
Considering all that could go wrong, it is crucial that you establish an attorney-client relationship with a skilled immigration lawyer who has significant experience with green card applications. Immigration attorneys can help ensure that your application meets all of the requirements set out by U.S immigration law and that it won’t be denied due to any mistakes or omissions on your part.
Green card applications are usually handled by immigration lawyers, who also handle cases such as:
Family-based immigration petitions
Asylum and refugee requests
Find Your Skilled Green Card Attorney at KC Immigration Lawyers
You can take your chances and complete immigration forms by yourself. However, preparing your whole case by yourself can be a complicated process. Bear in mind that some mistakes on your green card immigration petition can not only result in your application being denied but also make you inadmissible to the U.S. for several years. That’s why it is not recommendable going through the green card process alone without the help of a skilled green card immigration lawyer.
At KC Immigration Lawyers, we offer several immigration services. We can help you with all aspects of your application for permanent residency and U.S. citizenship.
From drafting your petition, preparing your supporting documents, and representing you at your interview with USCIS officers, we can take charge of your entire application. You can, in turn, rest easy knowing that you are in skilled and professional hands.
Contact us today and let us help you on the road to fulfilling your American dream.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is a Permanent Resident Card Called a Green Card?
The term green card refers to the color of the card, which is green. Green cards are not accepted as valid identification outside of the United States. Still, their holders can use them for entry into Canada and Mexico by land or sea.
Do You Need a Lawyer to File for a Green Card?
Filing for a green card or a permanent resident card can be done by the applicant. That said, there are many benefits of hiring an immigration lawyer. They understand the workings of immigration laws, regulations, and processes. They know what documents are needed in specific circumstances. They can help you avoid costly mistakes that could lead to rejection.
How Much Does a U.S. Immigration Lawyer Cost?
The legal fees of an immigration lawyer in the US depend on several factors, including the lawyer’s skill, the law firm’s location, the firm size, and the case’s complexity. Nevertheless, the cost of an immigration attorney is overshadowed by the benefits that hiring one can provide.
At KC Immigration Lawyers, we offer a free initial consultation to get to know you and your case. If you are ready to get started, contact us today to set up an appointment.