For many people who have immigrated to the United States, becoming a permanent resident is an essential part of their story. Permanent residency allows a foreign-born individual to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis and, in time, may be an important stepping stone to securing citizenship. While obtaining permanent resident status is crucial for so many people, it is an inherently difficult and legally involved process, causing many people to seek assistance from an experienced Los Angeles permanent residency attorney. Diaz Law Firm was established to provide compassionate legal advocacy to immigrants in the United States. DLF believes in the importance of your contributions to the country and will work tirelessly to uphold your rights at every step of the green card application process. To learn more about how DLF can help, consider contacting us at (626) 261-0402 to speak with a knowledgeable Los Angeles green card lawyer today.
What Is Permanent Residency, and What Is a Permanent Residency Card?
Permanent residency refers to an individual’s legal status to live and work in a country. In the United States, permanent residents are legally known as Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). Permanent residents in the United States have the right to work, own property, join the Armed Forces, and receive financial assistance at institutions of higher education. Even more importantly, they are protected by the laws of the United States. LPRs may also apply for citizenship if they meet specific eligibility requirements.
A permanent residency card, more often called a green card, is a form of identification used to prove that a person has permanent residency in the United States. green card holders are granted the right to live in the United States indefinitely, on a permanent basis. In essence, a green card is one method of securing official, legal immigration status in the country.
The Process of Becoming a Permanent Resident
The process of becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident is different for everyone. No two cases are the same and it is important to understand the different opportunities available to you. It is important to note that there are several avenues that a person can use to become a permanent resident in the United States. It is possible to obtain a green card through the following means:
- Family relationship
- Status as a special immigrant
- Refugee or asylee status
- Status as a victim of human trafficking or other serious crime
- Through registry
- Other circumstances
There are two application processes that are available to individuals who wish to become permanent residents. The first of which is Consular Processing, which is utilized by individuals who are located outside of the United States at the time of application. If a person meets the requirements to apply for a green card, they may do so while still in their home country and all correspondence is with the National Visa Center and the United States Department of State.
In other situations, an individual who wishes to obtain their green card is already physically located in the country. In these situations, it is not necessary for that person to travel back to their home country to apply for permanent residency. Rather, they can use the Adjustment of Status process with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Adjustment of status is used to adjust temporary immigration status to permanent residency/ green card status. Many times, a person will enter and reside in the United States using a temporary nonimmigrant visa. If that person wishes to remain in the country to live and work on a permanent basis, they must adjust their status to secure a green card. Furthermore, the adjustment of status process can also be used to remove conditions on residence. This is primarily for conditional permanent residents who obtained their green card through marriage and must remove the conditions on their residence.
Different Types of Green Cards
Los Angeles green card lawyer Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz has worked with clients from all walks of life to secure permanent residency in the United States. Successfully navigating this process depends largely on which type of green card you are applying for. Some of the most common types of green cards that DLF has secured for our clients include:
- Family-based: one of the most common ways to obtain a green card is through family relationships. If you are the spouse or immediate relative of a United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, you may be qualified to apply for your green card based on your relationship.
- Humanitarian-based: United States immigration law recognizes the value of humanitarian assistance for victims of abuse, oppression, or persecution in their home countries. There are several humanitarian-based immigration options available to provide individuals with green cards to live safely in the United States.
- Employment-based: many people obtain a green card through their employment at a United States-based company. Securing permanent residency on these grounds is difficult, however, and DLF helps applicants navigate the process smoothly and efficiently.
Frequently Asked Questions
As a Los Angeles permanent residency attorney with well over a decade of experience, Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz has spent a great deal of time providing accessible and reliable education to current and prospective clients. Some of the most frequently asked questions that Cheryl receives include the following:
How Do I Get a Green Card?
The process of getting a green card is slightly different for every person, but the application is always initiated by submitting an immigrant petition. Typically, another person must file an immigrant petition on your behalf, but there are special circumstances that may allow you to file for yourself. Once the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your petition and confirms that there is a visa available in your specific category, you may then file Form I-185, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
As your green card application is being processed and reviewed, you will be contacted to attend a biometrics appointment and schedule an interview. At the interview, you will be asked questions regarding your application and background. Finally, you will receive a decision from the USCIS either approving your application, denying your green card, or requesting additional information.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Green Card?
The length of time it takes to get a green card depends entirely on the factors involved in your case. While the process can take several years to complete in some situations, the average timeframe is between 10 months and 2 years from start to finish. Many times, delays in the process can be contributed to mistakes made while completing and filing relevant paperwork and evidence. Your Los Angeles permanent residency attorney can provide further insight on how to avoid these costly missteps, which can greatly benefit the timeline of your case.
Hiring a Los Angeles Green Card Lawyer Near You
Obtaining a green card is an important milestone in the journey of many individuals who immigrate to the United States. Given the importance of this process, it is essential to ensure that all aspects of your application are handled with care and adhere to the rules and requirements of United States immigration law. Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz works closely with prospective Lawful Permanent Residents to obtain their green cards as quickly and smoothly as possible. To begin the process of securing your permanent residency in the United States, consider contacting an experienced Los Angeles green card lawyer at (626) 261-0402 today.