Green Cards in Portland, OR
Obtain your green cards and live and work permanently in the United States. Permanent residency status is your bridge to becoming a U.S. citizen. Contact the Law Firm of Anable & Rivera today to learn more and to see if you are eligible to apply.
The First Step Towards Legal Citizenship for Individuals and Families
Obtaining a green card is the first step towards permanent residence in the United States of America. A green card is the short version of Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR). It allows recipients to work and live legally in the United States indefinitely. It is also the main stepping stone towards citizenship.
The residency process is typically a two-step process and is available to only specific categories of people. The first step involves a petition through a spouse, family member, or employer, or falling into a specific category of immigrants. The second process is proving that you are eligible and admissible.
Applying for Residency Inside and Outside of the U.S.
If you apply for residency status outside of U.S. borders, the process is referred to as consular processing. When people apply for residency within the borders of the United States, it is called “adjustment of status.”
Eligibility Categories – Who Can Apply?
Only certain people are eligible to apply for a green card. These categories are often a source of confusion for many, so here’s a simplified breakdown.
There are three broad categories of who can apply:
- Family-based categories
- Employment-based categories
- Other categories (Asylee, Refugee, Diversity Visa)
Perhaps the most commonly used application for permanent residency status is the family-based visa category. Several categories fall under this umbrella. They include:
- Immediate relatives
- F1: First family-based preference – Sons and daughters (unmarried) of United States citizens
- F2A: Second Family-based preference – Children and spouses (unmarried) of lawful residents
- F2B: Second Family-based preference– Sons and daughters (unmarried) of lawful residents
- F3: Third Family-based preference – Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- F4: Siblings (brothers and sisters) of U.S. citizens of 21 years or older
The United States encourages highly skilled workers to contribute to the United States. This is why they have set up a system to allow employers to sponsor highly competent employees to encourage them to remain in the United States. The subcategories of this type of visa include:
- EB-1: First Employment-based preference – This applies to workers considered to have extraordinary abilities, excellent and valuable professors or researchers, or highly-trained managers.
- EB-2: Second Employment-based preference -This subcategory applies to people that have advanced degrees and/or are considered to have skilled abilities.
- EB-3: Third Employment-based preference – This applies to professionals, skilled workers, or other competent workers.
- EB-4: Fourth Employment-based preference – Applies to certain workers including religious workers, NATO employees, persons that have worked for or assisted the U.S. Armed Forces for a certain amount of time.
- EB-5: Fifth Employment-based preference – This applies to a unique category of workers including entrepreneurs or investors investing over a certain amount ($500,00 to $1,000,000) in a viable commercial enterprise with the potential to create American jobs.
Other Visa Categories
If the family-based or employment-based categories don’t apply, a person may still be eligible for residency under the following categories:
- Asylee or Refugee Status: This category applies to people that have fled their home country on the basis of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, or political affiliation.
- Diversity Visa: The United States issues visas to people that are of countries with low immigration to the U.S. Every year, the list of qualifying countries will vary and will be published by the Department of State.
- Fiance of U.S. citizen: Under the K-1 visa, citizens of the U.S. can petition a foreign person to come to the country under the fiance visa. There are certain qualifications for this. One requires that the couple must have met in person at least two years before the petition was filed.
Green Cards for Human Trafficking Victims
For some victims of human trafficking or a victim of another type of crime that has received a T nonimmigrant visa or U visa, permanent residency may be an option. T visas apply to persons that assist law enforcement in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking cases.
Green Card Renewal
While the residency status itself does not expire, the green card or permanent residency card will and must be renewed and kept current.
Residency Status as the Bridge to Citizenship
For many people, the long-term goal is to become a United States citizen. Applying and successfully obtaining permanent residency status will bridge the gap into citizenship. Most lawful residents can apply for citizenship within 5, sometimes 3 years.
Potential Issues & How Our Law Firm Can Help
Applying for a green card should be done following all requirements and obligations. Many people often face issues with their applications due to inaccuracies or prior violations. Some of the most common violations that will pose a problem upon residency application include:
- Overstaying a visa
- Accumulation of unlawful presence
- Entering the U.S. without inspection
Why Having an Attorney Will Help Your Case
Having an attorney guide you through the immigration process will yield much higher chances of success. For example, some violations can present problems while applying. An experienced immigration attorney can advise you as to the best course of action.
Anable & Rivera Law Firm is ready to help you begin your journey towards citizenship.
Frequently Asked Questions
While every situation is different and there are plenty of exceptions and special circumstances, below are a few common frequently asked questions.
How long does it take to process green cards?
This depends on each person’s situation. It can take up to 7 to 33 months to process. The time can vary and fluctuate depending on location, the place where the application was received, and other factors.
How long do I have to wait to apply for citizenship after I become a resident?
The amount of time that lawful residents must wait before becoming a U.S. citizen is usually between 5 years or 3 years. The amount of time is called continuous residence, and it begins from the day your green card was issued. Trips of about longer than 6 months can impact continuous residency.
How long before my permanent residency expires?
The green card will provide an individual permanent residency status. However, for the first two years, a person may get a temporary card. After this time, if the person has not been convicted of a crime and has maintained the eligibility, the permanent card will be issued. This will typically expire after ten years.
Contact a Trusted Immigration Attorney Today
If you’re wondering whether you qualify to apply for permanent residency status, connect with us today.