Green Card

What Type of Green Card Is Right for You?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has different green cards. An experienced green card application lawyer can help you navigate each card’s specific steps and procedures.

  • Family-Based Green Card – The parents, spouses, fiancés, children, or siblings of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident may apply for a family-based green card.
  • Employment-Based Green Card – An employer gives you a signed job offer and sponsors you to stay in the U.S. based on specific conditions of employment.
  • Returning Resident Green Card –– This card is for returning residents who traveled outside the U.S. and did not return for more than one year for reasons beyond their control.
  • Lottery Visa Green Card – Citizens of countries with low immigration rates to the U.S. may apply for a lottery visa that, if selected, allows them to request a green card.
  • Special Immigrant Green Card – This green card is reserved for religious workers, Afghanistan or Iraq nationals who translated or worked for the U.S. government, and other individuals identified as special immigrants.
  • Green Card for Human Trafficking and Crime Victims – Individuals with a nonimmigrant T or U visa may apply for a green card.
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile or Domestic Violence Survivor Green Card – These green cards are for juveniles abandoned by their parents and victims of domestic abuse.
  • Refuge or Asylum Seeker Green Card – Green card for individuals granted asylum status or accepted as a refugee for at least one year before applying.

Green Card Application Process

Most immigrants obtain a green card based on a qualifying family member or employer sponsorship. Working with an experienced immigration attorney helps you avoid delays or potential legal issues.

Check Your Eligibility and Complete Required Forms

First, you must check your green card eligibility status. Only specific categories of foreign nationals have the qualifications for a green card.

Who Is Eligible to Apply for a Green Card?

The following individuals and situations are eligible to apply for a green card:

  • Individuals who are the spouse or immediate relative of a U.S. citizen
  • Unmarried children under the age of 21 of the U.S. citizen
  • The parent of a U.S. citizen who is a minimum of 21 years of age
  • The brother or sister of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old
  • An unmarried child under 21 years of age whose parent is a lawful permanent resident
  • The spouse of a lawful permanent resident
  • The fiancé of a U.S. citizen
  • The abused spouse of a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age that were abused and whose parents are lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens
  • The abused parents of a U.S. citizen
  • Certain types of immigrant workers
  • Those considered special immigrants
  • Refugees or asylees
  • Victims of human trafficking and other crimes
  • Juvenile special immigrants

These are only a few examples of parties eligible for a green card. You can speak with your immigration attorney to determine whether you are eligible and what your next steps should be.

What Documents Are Required?

Both the immigrant seeking a green card and their sponsoring family member or employer must complete the required documentation. For family-based residency, the sponsoring citizen or lawful permanent resident fills out USCIS form I-130. Employers complete Form I-140. At the same time, individuals seeking residency must complete I-485.

As experienced green card application lawyers, we know that deviating from the required steps or processes could result in a negative outcome. We help ensure that everything is completed and filed correctly, with any necessary attachments.

Are There Any Fees?

Most individuals applying for a green card must pay a $220 processing fee. Friends, family members, and employers can pay the fee for you.

Support Center Visit and Interview

After completing all forms and steps, green card applicants must go to an Application Support Center. The federal government collects pictures, fingerprints, and signatures necessary for a security check.

You may have an attorney present during your support center visit. Many of our attorneys are immigrants who traveled this journey before you. We understand how stressful the process can be.

The next step in the green card application process could be an interview with a USCIS agent. Not all applicants have this step, but your presence is mandatory when requested. During the interview, applicants answer questions about their submitted information and application under oath.

Having a green card lawyer in the room with you and the USCIS officer helps ensure that everything follows due process.

Receiving a Final Decision

Applicants receive a final decision in writing by mail. Although family members and workers with a guaranteed job generally receive their decision sooner, it can take several months to receive a decision.

A green card attorney can help you avoid potential delays by assisting you through the application and interview process.

Why Does USCIS Deny Some Applications?

Unfortunately, the USCIS denies some green card applications. The USCIS must explain in writing why it denied an application.

A green card immigration attorney can file an appeal within 30 days of the decision. The American Immigration Law Group will work tirelessly to help resolve the situation using the appropriate appeals process.

Your Options for Appeal

If your green card application has been denied, with help from your immigration attorney, you can file Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal, or Motion. This is a formal appeal that will give you the opportunity to challenge USCIS’s decision to deny your green card application. Generally, your appeal must be filed within 30 days of the decision or 33 days if the decision was mailed to you.