Green Card Lawyer: From Filing To the Decision
What Is a Green Card?
A Green Card, or immigrant visa, is a way for non-Americans to have legal permanent residency in the United States. With the permit, they can live and work without incurring legal issues regarding their immigration status. There are several ways to obtain a Green Card. The two most common methods are:
Family or Marriage-Based: U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can petition the government to allow immediate family members to live in the country. The purpose behind family-based Green Cards is to keep families together.
Employer-Based: Employers can petition the Department of Labor with a labor certification to bring qualified workers into the U.S. to work. With the labor certification, employers must advertise for U.S. workers and petition the government for residency visas if no capable citizens respond to the advertisements.
As a Green Card holder, you have the right to live and work in the United States. You will receive the same treatment as a permanent resident.
Though Green Cards are valid only for ten years and require renewal, you will not lose your permanent resident status in most situations. Having a Green Card and a qualified immigration lawyer’s assistance makes it easier for an immigrant or foreign national to gain citizenship and all the benefits that come with it.
Green Card Eligibility Requirements
A Green Card lawyer can help you complete your application for permanent residency. While your application is processing, you will receive a permit to travel in and out of the United States and an Employment Authorization Document to work legally. Both permissions are temporary, but to receive them, and ultimately your Green Card, you must meet specific eligibility requirements determined by the immigration office, such as:
- Have immediate relatives who are U.S. citizens like a parent or child
- Be a spouse or recent widow or widower of a U.S. citizen
- Be an unmarried individual under 21 with one parent who is a U.S. citizen
- Be parents of a U.S. citizen who is over age 21
- Be an adopted child of a U.S. citizen
Can You Lose Permanent Resident Status?
Most Green Card holders will retain their permanent residency within the United States. However, the government can revoke the benefit under certain conditions. For instance, if a Green Card holder leaves the country for an extended time, the U.S. may not restore their residency.
It’s also possible to lose your permanent resident status if you have a criminal offense conviction on your record after receiving a Green Card. With a criminal record, the government could initiate deportation proceedings.
Some ways to avoid losing your permanent residence include an adjustment of status with Form I-485, as well as submitting a motion to re-open your case if a judge initially denied it.
Why Are Green Card Applications Difficult?
The United States immigration system is notoriously difficult to navigate because immigration laws are tough to comprehend. It usually takes Green Card lawyers years to become knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the system.
Green Card processing times can be anywhere between 10 and 38 months because of how the law is written. While regulations are in place that make it possible for family members abroad to reunite with loved ones in the U.S., immigration laws also protect the country from allowing people to enter who may be security threats.
Most Green Card cases are not straightforward, and immigrants and foreign nationals will need assistance navigating the system to achieve a favorable outcome. A simple mistake on a form can cause approval delays and application rejections.
Colavecchio and Colavecchio Can Help
At the Colavecchio and Colavecchio Law Office in Nashville, TN, we aim to help our clients go through the Green Card application process as stress-free as possible. Chris Colavecchio is one of Tennessee’s most experienced and successful immigration lawyers. He and our team will provide you with the legal guidance you need to become a permanent U.S. resident.