Green Card Lawyers

In an increasingly interconnected world, the pursuit of a better life often transcends borders. For many across the globe, the United States represents the pinnacle of possibility. A country founded on the premise that your background, culture, and ambition should not only be accepted but championed in a chase to transform dreams into reality.

In the U.S., a Green Card is the golden ticket that allows immigrants to legally reside and work in the Land of Opportunity as permanent residents. But a green card does more than grant the right to live in the country; it grants access to a host of social, economic, and educational benefits that can drastically improve one’s quality of life. Moreover, permanent residency allows holders to petition for certain family members to join them in the United States and is the first step in gaining the coveted citizenship.

With all the benefits, the competition is fierce, with millions of applications filed each year from across the globe. With such high stakes, even a minor mistake in the green card application process can result in significant delays or outright denial. As the immigration policies in the United States continue to evolve, the procedures and eligibility criteria for obtaining a green card can change, often with little notice. This changing landscape makes the application process not just difficult, but also risky for those who attempt to go it alone.

That’s where a green card lawyer comes into play. With years of expertise practicing immigration law, a skilled green card lawyer can mean the difference between a successful application and a crushing denial. For the individual applicant, obtaining a green card is often the culmination of years, if not decades, of aspiration and effort. It is a tall task to navigate the legal labyrinth on your own. By choosing a knowledgeable immigration lawyer, you’re taking a crucial step toward ensuring your application’s success.

Top Family and Business Immigration Law Firm

VisaNation Law Group stands apart when it comes to turning the American Dream into an attainable reality for countless individuals and families. With a team of highly skilled and experienced immigration attorneys, they have a proven track record of navigating the complex U.S. immigration system. A 20-minute consultation can plot out the perfect route to a quicker, more seamless application approval.

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a figure stands waiting as they pursue a Green Card

What is a Green Card?

When an individual attains the status of a lawful permanent resident in the United States, they are issued a green card. This wallet-sized card grants you the freedom to live and work wherever you choose within the U.S. Unlike individuals on work visas, who often must stick to a specific job or employer, as a green card holder, you can switch jobs or employers without needing special approval. You can also live in the U.S. for as long as you want, provided you meet certain conditions and responsibilities. This unrestricted access offers numerous avenues for personal and professional advancement, essentially unlocking a wealth of opportunities that the United States has to offer.

Green card holders, also known as lawful permanent residents, are not U.S. citizens. but they may become eligible to apply for citizenship after meeting certain residency and other requirements. Green card holders cannot vote, run for office, or sit on a jury in the United States. Additionally, they can’t work in certain federal jobs that are restricted to U.S. citizens. While both citizens and green card holders can sponsor family members to come to the U.S., the options are more limited for green card holders.

Green Card vs. Visa

A green card and a visa are both documents that allow non-U.S. citizens to reside in the United States, but they serve different purposes and come with varying rights and restrictions. A green card grants lawful permanent residency, allowing the holder to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely, switch jobs without special permission, and even sponsor family members for their own green cards. In contrast, a visa is a temporary authorization for a specific purpose, such as tourism, study, or work, and often comes with strict limitations like not being able to change employers or work off-campus as a student. While visas are generally quicker to obtain, they do not offer a direct path to permanent residency or citizenship like a green card does.

What are the Requirements for a Green Card?

The requirements for obtaining a green card can vary significantly depending on the specific path you are taking to achieve this status. Given the complexity and variability of the requirements, many individuals consult with immigration lawyers to assist with their green card applications. Let’s take a look at some of the more sweeping qualifications for a green card.

  • Admissible by the U.S. Government

You must be admissible to the U.S., meaning you don’t have certain criminal convictions, don’t pose a security risk, haven’t violated immigration laws, etc. This is square one for any sort of immigration processing. If you have concerns regarding your eligibility, speak to an immigration attorney and they will advise you on the next steps forward.

  • Sponsor/Affidavit of Support

Many categories require proof that the immigrant won’t become a public charge, often through an affidavit of support from a U.S. sponsor. If you are seeking to sponsor a family member trying to come into the country, it’s best to contact our office.

  • Medical Exams

Most applicants must pass a medical exam unless there’s a reasonable and predetermined excuse for skipping.

How Does a Lawyer Assist During the Green Card Process?

During the process of securing a green card, lawyers who specialize in immigration serve as a guide and an advocate, leading you through the complex land of U.S. immigration procedure. With years of legal practice under their belt, immigration attorneys are ready to assist you in many different aspects of the immigration process.

Proper Documentation and Filing

Lawyers assist in gathering and thoroughly explaining the necessary documentation for your application, and then aid in completing the required forms accurately. This includes any affidavits, letters of recommendation, employment records, and other supporting evidence.

Problem Solving and Staying Updated

If issues arise, such as delays in processing or requests for additional evidence, your lawyer can address these effectively, often drawing upon legal precedents or leveraging their network within the immigration system.

Also, immigration laws and policies can change frequently. An experienced immigration lawyer stays updated on these changes and can adapt your application strategy as needed.

Appeals & Legal Remedies

Immigration attorneys represent you in interactions with government agencies, including the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Department of State, and immigration courts. If your application is initially denied, a green card lawyer can guide you through the appeals process, correcting any issues before you reapply.

Legal Consultation

Immigration attorneys will assess your individual circumstances to determine the best pathway for you to obtain a green card, whether it’s through family sponsorship, employment, or other categories. Even a 20-minute consultation can be the difference between an approved or denied application.

a banner alluding to a visa strategy consultation

Types of Green Cards

Green cards offer various paths for individuals to live and work permanently in the United States. Each of these categories has specific eligibility criteria and application processes, often involving both U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State.

Family-Sponsored Green Cards

Family-Sponsored Green Cards are one of the most common pathways to U.S. permanent residency. They allow individuals to immigrate based on a qualifying family relationship with a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. There are two primary sub-categories that section out family-sponsored green cards.

Immediate Relative (IR) of a U.S. Citizen

The Immediate Relative visa category offers a fast-track route for close family members of U.S. citizens to obtain a green card. Unlike other family-based visa types, this category faces no annual cap on the number of visas issued, and the adjudication process is often expedited. Here are the different Immediate Relative sub-categories:

  • IR-1 for Spouses: U.S. citizens can sponsor their spouses under this category. Required evidence often includes proof of genuine marriage, such as shared financial accounts and affidavits from acquaintances.
  • IR-2 for Unmarried Children Under 21: If you are a U.S. citizen, you can sponsor your unmarried children under this sub-category. Importantly, eligibility hinges on the child’s age when you submit the initial application, not their age during the application process.
  • IR-3 for Adopted Orphans Abroad: U.S. citizens who adopt orphans from other countries can bring them to the U.S. under this category.
  • IR-4 for Orphans to be Adopted in the U.S.: This sub-category allows U.S. citizens to bring orphans to the United States for the purpose of adopting them domestically.
  • IR-5 for Parents: U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old can sponsor their parents. To qualify, the sponsoring child must demonstrate the financial ability to support their parents at a level that’s 125% above the federal poverty guidelines.

Each of these sub-categories provides a streamlined path for immediate family members of U.S. citizens to establish permanent residency in the United States.

Marriage-based green card success story blurb

Family Preference Category

  • F-2 – Spouses, Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: Lawful permanent residents can sponsor their spouses and children. This category is further divided into F2A (for spouses and children under 21) and F2B (for unmarried children 21 or older).
  • F-3 – Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: U.S. citizens can sponsor their married children, regardless of age. The sponsoring citizen’s grandchildren can also be included under this category.
  • F-4 – Siblings of U.S. Citizens: U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old can sponsor their brothers and sisters. The citizen must also demonstrate the ability to financially support their sibling.

It’s Time to Reunite in the U.S.

Reuniting with family is often one of the most compelling reasons people seek to immigrate or secure visas. VisaNation Law Group strives to make the whole process as seamless as possible. If you’re looking to sponsor someone wishing to immigrate to the United States, trust the firm with over a decade of experience.

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Employment-Based Green Cards

The U.S. offers several types of employment-based green cards, categorized from EB-1 to EB-5, each serving different professional levels and skills:

  • EB-1: Exceptional Individuals, Researchers, Managers

This category is designed for people with extraordinary talents in arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics. It also accommodates outstanding academic researchers as well as multinational managers and executives.

  • EB-2: Advanced Degree Professionals and Exceptional Talent

The EB-2 category serves professionals holding advanced degrees beyond a bachelor’s level, or those with exceptional abilities in their field, such as arts, sciences, or business. Often, applicants must have a job offer and undergo a labor market test, although waivers are available for those who can demonstrate their work is in the national interest.

  • EB-3: Skilled, Professional, and Other Workers

The EB-3 category covers a broad range of workers including skilled labor with at least two years of experience, professionals with a U.S. bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent, and other workers in non-skilled roles. A Labor Certification and a job offer are generally required for this category.

  • EB-4: Special Immigrants

This category is for specialized roles like religious ministers, employees at U.S. foreign service posts, and certain employees of international organizations. EB-4 applicants often need a specific sponsor, like a religious organization or government agency.

  • EB-5: Immigrant Investors

The EB-5 program is for individuals willing to invest a significant amount of capital into a U.S. business that will create or preserve jobs for U.S. workers. The minimum investment amount and job creation requirements vary based on the area of investment, but it offers a direct route to permanent residency for the investor and their immediate family.

Intro to the success story about an EB-1 VisaNation oversaw.

Diversity Visa Program

For individuals from countries with historically low levels of immigration to the U.S. Unlike employment-based or family-sponsored visas, the Diversity Lottery does not require a job offer or a U.S.-based family sponsor. Those selected in the lottery must also undergo a background check, medical examination, and an interview. It’s worth noting that being selected in the lottery does not guarantee a visa; it simply provides an opportunity to apply for one.

There are a few other specialized avenues that can be taken to secure a green card. If you feel you need a bit more guidance in regard to the criteria you fit, it’s best to speak to an immigration attorney about your specific path toward approval.

Choosing the Right Green Card Lawyer

Choosing the right immigration attorney is a pivotal decision that can influence the outcome of your application. Given the complexities of U.S. immigration law and the high stakes involved, it’s crucial to work with someone who is not only qualified but also aligns well with your needs. There are some guidelines to assist you in making an informed choice.

Track Record and Reviews

Consider the lawyer’s track record, particularly their success rate in handling green card applications similar to yours. Online reviews and testimonials can provide additional insights into their effectiveness and client satisfaction.

Area of Expertise

Select a lawyer who specializes in immigration law, and ideally, one who has particular expertise in green card cases. The nuances of immigration law require specialized knowledge, so a general-practice lawyer may not be equipped to handle the intricacies of your case.

Communication Skills

Effective communication is key. Your lawyer should be responsive, clear, and able to articulate complex legal terms in a way that’s easy to understand. The initial consultation is a good opportunity to assess their communication skills.

By paying attention to these factors, you can increase your chances of finding a green card lawyer who is both qualified and a good fit for your individual needs. Making the right choice can alleviate much of the stress associated with your immigration and increase your chances of a favorable outcome. If you are looking to retain an attorney to assist you throughout your application process, schedule a call with VisaNation Law Group to decide if the fit is right for you.

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