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Green Card - Permanent Residency
A green card holder or Permanent Resident is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of living and working permanently in the United States. You must go through a multi-step process to become an immigrant. In most cases, USCIS must first approve an immigrant petition for you, usually filed by an employer or relative. Then, an immigrant visa number must be available to you, even if you are already in the United States. After that, if you are already in the United States, you may apply to adjust to permanent resident status (If you are outside the United States, you will be notified to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing for an immigrant visa.)
Enter the US with Green Card
Acquiring permanent residency in the United States is a dream of many around the world. The Land of Opportunity offers various ways of getting permanent residency (a green card). The almost popular way of acquiring residency is via a family petition. Or an applicant may seek to acquire permanent residency based on an employment or a business / investor visa. Also it is possible to acquire residency based on one’s extraordinary ability in a qualified field. Moreover, there is a DV (diversity visa) lottery available for citizens of countries that are underrepresented in the visa quota.
To see the best option for you, consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
Green Card Renewal Requirements
In order to renew your green card, you must file an application with a fee and subsequently, you will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment (fingerprinting). If you have been convicted of any crime or have abandoned your residency, then you may be placed in removal proceedings. Therefore, before applying for a renewal of your green card, consult an experienced immigration professional.
The Green Card and Traffic Violations
Certain types of traffic-related convictions may render even a permanent resident alien deportable. Be sure to consult with an experienced immigration attorney before deciding the strategy for your traffic charge.
Green Card Travel Rules
Generally, a permanent resident should not travel outside of the United States for six months or more at a time. Otherwise, upon return, the inspecting officer may conclude that the resident abandoned his or her residence in the U.S.
One way to avoid having the length of your absence considered as abandonment, is by applying for a re-entry permit.
Since travelling outside of the U.S. may have serious consequences, consult with an experienced immigration attorney first.
US Green Card and Divorce
Before giving a green card based on a marriage to a U.S. Citizen or a permanent resident, the U.S. CIS confirms that the marriage is bona fide (to establish a married life together, not to get an immigration benefit.) But what happens if there is a divorce subsequent to acquiring a green card?
If the alien gets permanent residency within 2 years after the marriage, then U.S. CIS places a condition on the residency. This condition is to be removed by filing a joint petition between 18 to 24 months after acquiring the conditional residency. However, if the alien is divorced and is not able to file a joint petition, then he or she must file a waiver of the joint petition requirement and explain that the marriage was not fraudulent.
CAUTION: The USCIS has become increasingly strict in examining the bona fides of the marriage. If you are facing separation or divorce, then it is crucial to consult with an experienced immigration attorney about your permanent residency.
Applying for a Green Card through Marriage
As the world draws closer and closer, there are increasing cross-cultural marriages. Americans marrying non-Americans wish to keep their spouses in the U.S. This is basically a two-step process. First, the U.S. Citizen or permanent resident must petition for his or her spouse. The petitioner must establish to the U.S. CIS that the marriage was entered into in good faith; for establishing a married life together, not just to confer an immigration benefit upon the alien.
Second, the alien must establish his or her eligibility for permanent residency. The alien must show that he or she is not barred under any ground of inadmissibility.
The government conducts a thorough investigation of all these issues. In addition to doing a biometrics exam (fingerprints and background check), the U.S. CIS conducts a thorough interview of the couple under oath.
Before applying for a marriage-based visa, be sure to consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
Contact our Immigration Division
The Law Firm of NeJame, LaFay, Jancha, Ahmed, Barker, Joshi and Moreno, P.A. handles all type of immigration cases, including Permanent Residency (green card) applications. Please call us at (407) 245-1232, e-mail us at Immigration@NeJameLaw.com or fill out our online form.