Applying for a green card can often be needlessly complicated and frustratingly time-consuming. But with the help of an experienced green card lawyer, you can successfully navigate the system and avoid needless stress and delays.
At Little Law, P.A. we represent immigrants who wish to apply for legal permanent residence. We can guide you through each step, from filling out the required forms to preparing you for interviews with immigration officials, thus ensuring that the process goes as smoothly as possible. To learn more about becoming a lawful permanent resident of the United States, contact us today. Our Tampa FL immigration attorneys are more than happy to help.
What Is a Green Card?
A green card gives foreign nationals the right to reside and work in the U.S. with the status of a lawful permanent resident. In order to obtain a green card a spouse, family member, or employer living in the U.S. can sponsor you. And in some cases, if you have come to the States as an asylum seeker, you can get a green card as a refugee.
While green card holders have specific rights under the law, they do not have the same rights as a full U.S. citizen. For instance, you may live and work in the States, travel to other countries and return to the States, and petition for certain family members to get green cards. However, you will not be able to vote, and there is a waiting period to apply for some federal assistance programs. Also, if you violate certain laws or engage in fraudulent acts in obtaining your green card, you may be deported.
Once you have received a green card, you may apply for full citizenship after a period of time has elapsed. Additionally, you can sponsor immediate family to be brought over to the U.S. and receive green cards of their own.
Green Card Application Process
Before applying for a green card, you must first determine whether or not you are eligible. In the majority of cases, green card applicants will need to be sponsored by either an immediate family member or an employer. It’s important to work with a green card lawyer to determine your eligibility, as well as to determine what requirements you must satisfy depending on which immigrant category you fall into.
The U.S. government will also require you to complete several applications, including an immigration petition and a green card application. Typically, the immigrant petition is filed on your behalf by your sponsor.
Those who are in the U.S. on valid visas will need to seek what is known as an “adjustment of status”. Adjustment of status petitions are filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you are currently living outside of the United States, you will need to complete consular processing with the Department of State.
Once you submit your petition and application, the government will require you to attend a biometrics appointment, during which you will provide fingerprints, photos, and a signature for use on official documents. You will also be interviewed.
After this process, a decision will be reached on whether your application is approved or whether the government requires more information.
What Is Consular Processing?
In cases where legal permanent residents (green card holders) or U.S. citizens want to bring family members over to the United States, the process needs to be handled outside the U.S.
During consular processing, the US sponsor will complete a family based petition. If it’s approved, it will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), then to the consulate and processed.
The Affidavit of Support is needed in this process, and asserts that the sponsor has some method by which to support their family member without the need for public assistance.
Once your petition is filed, the consulate will perform a criminal background check and review your medical records to ensure that you are in compliance with U.S. vaccination requirements.
Lastly, the beneficiary will need to be interviewed at the consulate. While the interview takes place in English, beneficiary is allowed to have translators there during the interview.
How Long Will It Take to Get a Green Card?
The green card application process can often take months or even years. Even if you already have a visa and live in the States, many issues could delay the processing of your green card. For example if officials have additional questions or are awaiting any paperwork, you may be subject to delays. An experienced green card lawyer can ensure that you avoid costly mistakes with your application and therefore increase your chances of obtaining a green card more quickly.
Checking Your Case Status for a Green Card
When you submit your green card application, you will be assigned a case number with the USCIS. You can use that number to check your case status online. You may also sign up for an account, which will allow you to see your entire case history. If you feel your application processing time is outside of the normal processing times, you may submit a case inquiry or service request for your case via USCIS online.
A Tampa FL Green Card Lawyer Can Help
Little Law, P.A. can help both those applying for an adjustment of status on U.S. visas and those who wish to bring family members over from abroad. In each case, we can coordinate between the government agencies that process these applications to ensure that your case is filed correctly and on time. In addition, we can prepare you for any interviews required in order to receive a green card and make sure your application is complete. We take pride in helping immigrants begin their new life in the United States. Contact us today to learn about how we can help.