How to Obtain a Green Card

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How to Obtain a Green Card

A green card provides immigrants permanent resident status, even if they are not citizens of the United States. Green cards provide relief for immigrants living in the country, as it is the first step toward obtaining citizenship, and it protects them from deportation. There are a number of ways a person can obtain a green card, although the process is not easy. A Chicago immigration attorney can help the process go as smoothly and as quickly as possible and give you the best chance of getting a green card. Read on to learn the steps you must take to obtain a green card. 

Your Eligibility Status

Obtaining a green card through a family member is one of the most popular methods of gaining permanent resident status. If you are a direct relative of a United States citizen, they can file a petition for you to live in the country. You can also obtain a green card if your relative is not a citizen but is considered a permanent resident. This process takes a bit longer and is a bit more complicated, but it is possible. 

You can also obtain a green card through your employer. If you are already permanently employed, your employer can fill out Form I-140 and obtain labor certification. If you are not an employee, but an entrepreneur who plans on creating jobs in the United States, you can also obtain a green card. You must also invest $1,000,000 or $500,000 in an employment area, and file Form I-526

Refugees can enter the United States as refugees, or if an immediate family member is a refugee. If you do enter the country as a refugee, you must apply for permanent resident status within one year of entering America. 

Petitions and Visas

The next step in obtaining a green card is determining which petition you must file. The petition filed will depend on whether you are applying for a green card based on a relative or employment. Typically, your family member or employer will file the petition on your behalf. Rarely do applicants file these petitions on their own, although it does sometimes happen. 

After the petition is filed, you then need to determine if there is a visa available for you. Certain visas have a limited amount that are distributed each year. There is no limit for those applying for a green card through direct relatives. After the petition is filed, you will receive a Visa Bulletin that will state if there are limitations on the type of visa for which you are applying. The Bulletin will also include instructions on how to check your place in the queue, or line, of visa applicants. 

If a visa is available to you, you can then file Form I-485. This form allows you to adjust your status or register as a permanent residency. Filing this form costs $1,070. If you are trying to get a green card through a family member, you can file this form at the same time your relative files the petition. You may have to include supporting documentation with the form, so it is important to read the instructions carefully. 

The Last Steps

To obtain a green card, you must have your fingerprints and photograph taken. The USCIS will also perform a background check. In certain cases, the USCIS will also call you in for an interview. Sometimes, the family member who filed the petition is also asked to attend the interview. It is of crucial importance that you attend this interview on the date and time requested and that you bring travel documents, passports, and any other relevant information with you. 

After these steps, the USCIS will make a decision on your application. If they deny your application, you can file an appeal. If the USCIS approves your application, they will send further instructions on how to obtain your green card, and when you must renew it. 

Call an Illinois Immigration Lawyer Today

A green card holds many benefits for those who wish to remain in the country on a permanent basis. However, the process of obtaining a green card is long and often arduous. A Chicago immigration lawyer can help expedite the process and make it easier on you. If you want to obtain a green card for yourself or file a petition for one on someone else’s behalf, contact Kriezelman, Burton & Associates, LLC. We will walk you through every step of the process and give you the best chance of success. Call us today or contact us online so we can begin reviewing your case. 

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