Paths to Permanent U.S. Residency

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Paths to Permanent U.S. Residency

Many U.S. immigrants eventually hope to make the United States their home, and while the path to citizenship is difficult, it is not impossible. For those individuals, the first step toward obtaining permanent residency involves becoming Lawful Permanent Residents. Lawful Permanent Residence status allows individuals to live in the United States on an indefinite basis so long as he or she does not commit any crimes or other violations that would result in deportation. Eventually, those individuals are given the opportunity to apply for Citizenship.

If you are interested in obtaining permanent residency so that you may eventually apply for U.S. citizenship, there are a few paths you can take to get there. Talk to the Chicago immigration lawyers at Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC, to discuss your options and to work your way toward permanent residency today.

You Are an Immediate Relative of a U.S. Citizen

One of the easiest ways to obtain permanent residency status in the U.S. is to be an immediate family member of an existing U.S. citizen. Immediate relatives include individuals who are:

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens;
  • Children (single and under the age of 21), step-children, and stepparents of U.S. citizens, so long as the marriage took place prior to the child turning 18; and
  • Adopted children, so long as the adoption took place before the child was 16.

You Are an Employee in the U.S.

Every year, a total of 140,000 green cards are reserved for individuals whose skill sets cannot be found on the U.S. market and that are needed by U.S. employers. In these instances, a job offer is necessary for the individual to obtain lawful permanent resident status, and even with a job offer, permanent residency is not guaranteed. The employer needs to begin the process and remain actively involved in it through the entire application process.

You Won the Green Card Lottery

Every year, 50,000 visas are reserved for the diversity lottery, a lottery to which only citizens of certain residents may apply. The countries eligible for the lottery are those that have sent over the least number of immigrants in the past.

To apply, you must submit your application during the one-month window, which is usually at the end of the year. Unfortunately, because the government is so slow to process applications, few actually ever make it through the system on time.

You Are a Long-Time Resident and Are Forced to Leave

If you have been a long-time resident of the U.S.—meaning, you have lived here for 10 years or more—have good moral character, have a spouse and children in the U.S., and have been placed in removal proceedings, you may have a chance at obtaining permanent resident status. However, you must be able to prove that your spouse and children would face significant hardship if you were removed from the country. Though the process is complicated, you stand a chance of winning your case with a skilled Chicago immigration lawyer by your side.

Contact an Immigration Lawyer Near You

If you want to become a permanent resident of the U.S., you have a few more options outside of those mentioned above. Talk to the Chicago immigration attorneys at Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC, to learn more about all of your options and to begin the application process today.