If you’re looking to live and work legally in the United States and have an employer, family member, or investment opportunity waiting for you in the U.S., you may qualify for a green card. Cohen & Patel has extensive experience guiding clients through the process of obtaining green cards here in the U.S., and if you need competent, skilled legal guidance, you’ve come to the right place. Contact a dedicated Montgomery County green card lawyer from our legal team today so we can get started working on your case.
Green Card Lawyer | Representing Clients in PA & Throughout the U.S.
Unfortunately, obtaining a green card isn’t always an easy or straightforward process. That said, with legal guidance, it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming one either. A seasoned Montgomery County immigration lawyer here at Cohen & Patel is prepared to help you, every step of the way.
General Information About Green Cards
A green card is a document that proves that you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States. It allows you to live and work anywhere in the U.S., travel in and out of the country, sponsor your relatives for immigration benefits, and apply for U.S. citizenship after a certain period of time (the end goal for most non-citizens). That said, there are several different types of green cards, including the following:
- Family-based green cards: Family-based green cards are for people who have a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen or a green card holder, such as a spouse, parent, child, sibling, or fiancé.
- Employment-based green cards: If you have a job offer from a U.S. employer, have extraordinary abilities or achievements in their field, or have invested a significant amount of money in a U.S. business, you may qualify for an employment green card.
- Diversity green cards: Certain countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. participate in the annual Diversity Visa Lottery. If you win this lottery, you may qualify for a green card.
- Humanitarian green cards: These are for people who are refugees or asylees, victims of crime or human trafficking, or have other humanitarian reasons to stay in the U.S.
Obtaining a Green Card in the United States
The process by which you will obtain your green card will vary, depending on your eligibility category and where you are applying from. That said, typically, there are two main ways to apply for a green card. They are adjustment of status and consular processing.
Consular Processing is one of the two primary methods through which an individual can apply for a U.S. green card (permanent residency) from outside the United States. The process involves several stages, and it’s essential to understand each one to ensure a smooth and successful application.
- Petition Approval: The process typically starts with a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident sponsor filing a petition on behalf of the intending immigrant. This is usually done with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the petition is approved, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC).
- Application Processing at NVC: The NVC will notify the applicant when it’s time to pay the appropriate fees and submit supporting documentation. It is crucial to follow their guidelines precisely, as discrepancies can lead to delays.
- Scheduling an Interview: Once the NVC has reviewed the documents and is satisfied, they will schedule an interview appointment at a U.S. consulate or embassy in the applicant’s home country.
- Medical Examination and Interview: Before the interview, applicants will need to undergo a medical examination by a panel physician approved by the U.S. embassy or consulate. At the interview, the consular officer will assess the applicant’s eligibility for a green card.
- Visa Approval: If approved, the applicant will receive a visa packet to present upon arrival in the U.S. It’s essential not to open this packet; the U.S. Customs and Border Protection will do this upon the applicant’s entry.
- Paying the USCIS Immigrant Fee: Before traveling, the applicant must pay an immigrant fee online through the USCIS website.
- Green Card Issuance: Upon entry to the U.S., the individual will be inspected by Customs and Border Protection. If deemed admissible, they will become a permanent resident, and their green card will be mailed to their U.S. address.
Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of Status (AOS) refers to the procedure that allows foreign nationals already in the U.S. to apply for permanent resident status without having to return to their home country. This process is particularly beneficial for those who have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident sponsor and are eligible to adjust their status.
- Determine Eligibility: Not everyone can adjust their status. Typical candidates include those with an approved immigrant petition, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, certain employment-based applicants, and some special classes of immigrants.
- File Form I-485: The primary form for AOS is the I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. It should be submitted to USCIS with the necessary supporting documentation and fees.
- Biometrics Appointment: After filing, the applicant will receive an appointment for biometrics collection. This involves taking fingerprints, a photo, and sometimes an iris scan.
- Interview: Not all AOS applicants are interviewed, but if required, the applicant will be notified of the date, time, and location of their interview. It’s crucial to attend and bring all necessary documents.
- Receive a Decision: Once USCIS has reviewed the application and conducted the necessary checks, they will issue a decision. If approved, the applicant becomes a permanent resident of the U.S., and their green card is mailed to them.
- Possible Work and Travel Authorization: While the AOS application is pending, applicants might also file for work (using Form I-765) and travel authorization (using Form I-131). This allows them to work in the U.S. and travel abroad without affecting their AOS application.
Contact a Green Card Lawyer Today
If you need a reliable Montgomery County green card immigration lawyer in your corner, look no further than Cohen & Patel. Our firm proudly represents clients facing immigration matters throughout the United States and in all of Pennsylvania, including in East Norriton, Norristown, Allentown, Lancaster, Bensalem, Easton, Levittown, Bethlehem, Erie, Mechanicsburg, Chester, Harrisburg, and more. Contact us today so we can get started working on your case.