Montgomery County Green Card Lawyer

Form I-551, better known to most people in Montgomery County as a “Green Card,” is an identification card showing that the holder is a lawful permanent resident of the United States with authority to live and work in this country. For years, these identification cards were printed on green paper, which provided grounds for the nickname that remains in use today, even with the federal government.

To obtain a Green Card, a foreign national must obtain a permanent visa, also known as an immigrant visa. Immigrant visas are issued in limited numbers each year, and applicants must meet a number of specific requirements and follow proper procedures in order to qualify. In most cases, eligibility for a permanent resident visa is based either on the applicant’s family relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident or their employment status.

Many people find it helpful to work with a knowledgeable attorney to help with the process of obtaining a Green Card. A Montgomery County Green Card lawyer could assist you if problems arise that can threaten removal or loss of status or privileges.

How to Apply for a Green Card

To get a Green Card, it is first necessary to have a sponsor, usually an employer or family member. The sponsor files a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Documentation is provided to prove eligibility, and once approved by USCIS, the person seeking the Green Card files a visa application. This application may be processed by the U.S. State Department if the applicant is abroad. Alternatively, a prospective Green Card holder could apply for adjustment of status if they are in the U.S. and entered lawfully. The process includes numerous stages and may take years to complete, particularly if delays or problems occur. In order to prevent any mishaps from occurring during the application process, it is recommended to check in with a Montgomery County Green Card lawyer first.

Employment-Based Visas

An employer may sponsor an employee or prospective employee for an immigrant visa, but the employer must first obtain approval from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In addition, employment-based visas are granted in limited number, and those with higher qualifications receive a higher preference.

Family-Based Visas

Permanent visas granted on the basis of family connections are also limited in number in most cases. The exception is visas granted to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, which are not subject to numerical quotas.

Immediate family members are considered to be parents (if the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years old), husbands, wives, and unmarried children under the age of 21, of U.S. citizens.

Other family members may be eligible to apply for a visa but may wait longer for the visa application to be processed. The general rule is that the higher preference the relationship used to establish eligibility, the shorter the wait may be. For this reason, it makes sense to petition through the family member with the best status.

In order of preference, the family members who may qualify for a Green Card are:

  • Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens
  • Adult unmarried children of U.S. citizens
  • Husbands, wives, and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents of the U.S. (AKA Green Card holders)
  • Married children of U.S. citizens and their spouses and unmarried minor children
  • Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and unmarried minor children

Because the preference level can have a tremendous impact on processing times, if an applicant or sponsor has a change of status, it is important to notify the proper authorities as soon as possible.

Get Assistance from a Montgomery County Green Card Attorney Today

Many times, those seeking a Green Card find it helpful to work with an experienced immigration attorney. A Montgomery County Green Card lawyer can assist with questions at the outset, such as those involving eligibility and procedural compliance.

Attorneys may also prove helpful if it is necessary to investigate a delay or overcome a difficulty either in the application process or later if removal or other consequences are threatened. Every situation is unique, so to learn how an immigration lawyer can assist in your case, call for a consultation.