Applying for Lawful Permanent Resident Status in Prince William County

Applying for lawful permanent resident status in Prince William County poses numerous challenges. Applicants must ensure that they meet the requirements and that they fully demonstrate their eligibility. Incomplete or inaccurate documentation can lead to a denial of the application.

An experienced immigration lawyer can assist with the application process or help resolve difficulties that arise after a petition or application has been filed. LPR status opens a wealth of possibilities, but achieving success with the application process takes diligence and perseverance. To get started on your application, schedule a consultation today.

Working with USCIS

USCIS, which stands for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, is a federal agency that is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Many of the functions formerly performed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) are now handled by USCIS.

Individuals applying for LPR status will usually need to work extensively with USCIS in the process. USCIS maintains a field office in Prince William County which serves a large part of Virginia as well as the District of Columbia.

Preliminary Steps

Before applying for LPR status, USCIS recommends that individuals first consider two issues: (i) an applicant must review the qualifications to determine whether they are eligible for LPR status, and (ii) the applicant must consider their location at the time of applying. Those located in Prince William County or elsewhere inside the U.S. will use the “adjustment of status” process while individuals located outside the U.S. will make use of consular processing.

To determine eligibility, it is necessary to review the applicant’s circumstances and how they fit within various immigrant categories. LPR eligibility may be granted based on:

  • Family connection;
  • Employment;
  • Special immigrant status;
  • Refugee status or asylum;
  • Status as a victim of a crime or human trafficking;
  • Continuous residence since 1971; or
  • Other status or connections

An immigration attorney in Prince William County can assist in determining whether an applicant meets the standards to qualify in a specific category.

Filing a Petition with USCIS

For most people in Prince William County applying for permanent resident status, the first step in the process involves filing an immigration petition with USCIS. Someone in the right position must usually file a petition on behalf of the immigrant. The immigrant can only self-petition in the rare circumstances where the applicant’s expertise in a particular area is recognized as extraordinary or is of great interest to U.S. security or has been subjected to abuse or extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative.

Often a sponsoring family member or employer files the petition with USCIS along with supporting documentation. After the agency approves the petition, the applicant will need to wait until an appropriate immigrant visa becomes available. Since permanent visas are limited in number each year, individuals in popular categories with low preference status may have to wait years before moving to the next step in the process.

Final Steps When Applying for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Status in Prince William County

Most, but not all applicants seeking LPR status will need a permanent visa. Therefore, when a visa becomes available, an individual may be asked to submit a visa application, supply documentation and identifying information, and undergo an interview. While an application is pending, the applicant can check the case’s status, update contact information, or make appointments through the USCIS website.

In certain cases, individuals with special status or temporary visas may be eligible to use the adjustment of status process to change their status to permanent resident while in the U.S. Just as with all applications, it will be necessary to document the satisfaction of requirements, such as continuous residency obligations, when applying for lawful permanent resident status (LPR) in Prince William County.