Newark, NY- Being a legal permanent resident or green card holder has numerous benefits for an immigrant that include being able to work in the U.S. and travel freely overseas. Becoming a green card holder is an ultimate goal of many immigrants, who can apply for permanent residency with the sponsorship of an employer, relative or fiancé. After submitting their visa application, the majority of immigrants must wait until a visa number is available. However immediate relatives of U.S. citizens of permanent residents do not have to wait until a visa number is available.
In order to apply for a family-based green card, the applicant must meet the eligibility requirements outlined by the USCIS:
- Be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, this includes spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older.
- Be a family member of a U.S. citizen fitting into a preference category, this includes unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21, married children of any age, and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older.
- Be a family member of a green card holder, this includes spouses and unmarried children of the green card sponsor.
- Be a member of a special category which can include battered spouses or children (VAWA), Special Immigrant Juveniles, a K nonimmigrant, a person born to a foreign diplomat in the United States, a V nonimmigrant or a widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen.
The first stage of obtaining a family-based green card is to file a visa petition, and depending on the individual’s circumstances, they can apply for a green card when they file their visa petition or after their visa petition has been approved.
Filing out a visa petition or green card application seems simple enough and many immigrants choose to tackle this important stage of the process on their own. But one minor mistake or omitted detail, though unintentional, can cause months of delays or a denial. Even worse, the USCIS or the Department of State could allege fraud, which could make the immigrant permanently inadmissible or require a burdensome and expensive waiver. This is why it is vital a green card applicant enlists the services of a New Jersey immigration attorney to assist them with all of their immigration-related petitions and forms from the beginning of the process.
Typically, an applicant must file their visa petition before entering the U.S. at an embassy or consulate in their native country. There are exceptions to this rule, and some immigrants can apply for a family-based green card after they have entered the U.S.; this is called an “adjustment of status.” Where you apply is largely dependent on your circumstances and before making this important decision, an immigrant can contact me at my Newark office to discuss the best route for them to take.
Regardless of whether an immigrant applies for a green card before or after they have entered the U.S., they must provide a great deal of documentation to immigration authorities. The importance of providing the right documents to immigration authorities cannot be emphasized enough. Because I understand the complexity of immigration law, my legal expertise will be valuable during all stages of applying for a green card, including filling out the necessary paperwork, compiling the required documents, addressing problems with processing and scheduling, and dealing with unforeseen complications.
Unfortunately, some immigrants have their green card applications denied. This can be because of simple procedural issues such as nonpayment of filing fees or failing to provide documentation of familial relationship to more complex issues like inadmissibility, fraud, lack of evidence or others.
Should an initial green card application be denied, an immigrant can usually file an appeal, though not always. The appeals process is much more complex and an immigrant’s chance of successfully appealing a green card denial depends on having exceptional legal representation. Oftentimes, it is more practical to re-apply.
Immigration law is the primary focus of my Newark practice, and I am devoted to helping my clients achieve their goals. I have the knowledge of U.S. immigration laws to assist individuals with all of their immigration-related needs. When you retain me as your attorney, you can have confidence that I will work very hard to see that you are granted a green card.