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How to Get a Green Card
When you're in the market for an immigration attorney that can deliver results, you need to choose someone with experience in the law that will take the time to explain your options fully so you may be able to make an educated decision. At McGregor & Oblad, we put years of experience and our knowledge of the detailed nuances of immigration law to work for you. Having a green card is one of the best ways to avoid immigration problems. However, many people don't know or understand the proper procedure for being granted this permit, and end up facing issues as a result.
Green Cards--technically called Permanent Residence Cards--permit you to live in the United States as a permanent resident alien. With a Permanent Residence Card, you may travel more freely, you may petition for other family members to come to the U.S., and you will be eligible to become a U.S. Citizen. There are many ways to get a Permanent Resident Card, but they are typically offered to the following qualifying groups:
- Spouses and parents of U.S. Citizens
- Spouses of Green Card Holders
- Children and siblings of U.S. Citizens
- Children of Green Card Holders
- Persons with extraordinary abilities
- Managers of Multi-national companies
- Skilled Workers
Permanent Residence Card Through Marriage to a U.S. Citizen
Usually, marriage to a U.S. Citizen is the easiest and quickest way to obtain a Permanent Residence Card. There are no waiting lines pertaining to spouses of U.S. Citizens. Moreover, a person who entered the U.S. legally on a visa or on a visa waiver can generally get a Permanent Residence Card through an adjustment of status without leaving the country, even if they have overstayed the amount of time permitted by the US government at their initial entry. Immigration officials put a lot of effort into assessing the validity of a marriage. Our attorneys can help you prepare your paperwork and help prepare you for your interview to help show that your marriage is legitimate.
Family Relationship to a U.S. Citizen
Immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens are eligible for Permanent Residence Cards without having to wait in any line. Immediate relatives generally includes:
- Children under age 21
- Parents of U.S. Citizens over age 21
- Certain stepchildren and stepparents of U.S. Citizens
- Adopted children of U.S. Citizens
Relatives who are not immediate relatives are eligible for a Permanent Residence Card, but must wait until a visa becomes available. Your relation to the petitioner, your country of origin, and your age determine how long you will have to wait. Relatives who are not immediate relatives, but are eligible for a Permanent Residence Card, include:
- Unmarried adult children (21 years old and up) of US citizens
- Spouses and unmarried minor children (under 21) of Lawful Permanent Residents
- Married children of U.S. Citizens
- Unmarried adult children (21 and older) of Lawful Permanent Residents
- Brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens
Permanent Residence Card Through Employment
A limited number of Green Cards are available to persons wanting to immigrate to the U.S. through employment opportunities. There are five categories of persons eligible to receive a Permanent Residence Card through employment:
- EB-1: Aliens With Extraordinary Abilities. This category covers those that have risen to the top of their field, usually at an international level. Most often this category applies to sports, science, and the arts.
- EB-2: Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees or Having Exceptional Abilities. This is available to those professionals holding degrees beyond a bachelors degree. Additionally, it is also available to those that can demonstrate that their ability merits recognition in their respective field.
- EB-3: Professionals and Skilled Workers. This category is available to those whose work requires a bachelors degree, or a degree of skill acquired after years of working in the trade.
- EB-4: Religious Workers. This is somewhat of a catch-all category, as it covers certain overseas workers of the U.S. Government, certain members of the U.S. Armed forces, and certain religious workers.
- EB-5: Investors. This category goes towards those making certain investments in the U.S. economy that creates jobs.
Permanent Residence Card Through Investment (EB5 Visa)
The EB5 visa is one of the more intriguing paths towards a Permanent Residence Card and Citizenship. To date, this category has never used its annual allotment of Permanent Residence Cards. Generally, an investor must invest at least $1,000,000 in the U.S. economy, or $500,000 in a sanctioned regional center.
How Do I Get A Green Card?
For most immigrants, there are two ways to get a Green Card: Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing. Adjustment of Status is a process that allows someone to get a Permanent Residence Card without having to leave the U.S. and is only available in limited circumstances. In most cases it is available only if the beneficiary has maintained a lawful status and an immigrant visa is available. An exception is made for minor children (under 21) and spouses of a US citizen as well as the parents of an adult (21 and older) US citizen. For anyone else who is out of status or who entered the country illegally, Consular Processing is likely their only option.
Consular processing refers to the process of getting a Permanent Residence Card by applying through a consulate in your home country. For certain individuals that have been physically present without status for a certain amount of time, leaving the US for any reason may trigger certain penalties, including possible prohibitions on reentry for 10 years. This may be waived through a 601 Hardship Waiver. Before you choose this route, be sure to contact an experienced immigration attorney to help determine which process is appropriate for your case.
Why Choose McGregor & Oblad
McGregor & Oblad, PLLC has helped immigrants from several countries receive Green Cards of many types, including through Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing. Our attorneys will first help you determine if you are eligible for a Green Card and through which process you may apply for residence. We will then prepare for you the strongest case possible to demonstrate that you are eligible for a Green Card. A good immigration lawyer knows the law, understands the legal process and relates to the client in order to provide the best service possible. Our attorneys will help you assess your options so you can know the best course of action in your individual case.
We offer a low initial consultation fee of $75. We also offer limited weeknight and weekend appointments. Please call 214-720-9555 for an appointment.