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Foreign nationals can permanently live, go to school, and work in the United States by acquiring Permanent Residency Status, more commonly known as Green Card Status. Individuals who have this status are legally recognized as lawful permanent residents (or LPRs for short).
Permanent residency guidelines and processing times vary drastically from case to case, so it’s important for anyone wishing to apply for or sponsor a foreign national to seek experienced legal counsel. Sometimes the smallest mistake can cause a Green Card application to be rejected which is why our permanent residency attorneys have dedicated their careers to immigration law. They provide our clients with the most informed and accurate legal counsel possible.
How to Apply for Green Cards
Permanent Residency Categories
The most common permanent residency categories are family-based Green Cards and employment-based Green Cards. There are other categories, including special immigrant green cards, which enable religious workers, employees of NATO, and others to permanently reside in the U.S.
Family-based, employment-based, and special immigrant green cards typically require a current lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen to file a petition for permanent residency on behalf of the foreign national. This procedure is widely known as sponsorship.
Foreign nationals who meet specific criteria may not require sponsorship. For example, immigrants of extraordinary ability may qualify for permanent residency without sponsorship by demonstrating exceptional talents in fields such as business, arts, athletics, sciences and technology, or academics. They must also provide evidence showing they will continue to work in their field of expertise within the U.S.
You might frequently hear the term “visa” when researching the permanent residency process. A visa is a document that foreign nationals show officials at borders and airports which indicates they were screened by consular officials for entry into the U.S. People who hold immigrant visas become permanent residents as soon as they enter the U.S. There is another type of visa, a nonimmigrant visa, which permits foreign nationals to stay in the U.S. for a defined length of time.
In general, when sponsoring a foreign national who currently resides outside the U.S. for an immigrant visa, a current citizen or lawful permanent resident must submit an immigrant petition form to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. Once the petition is approved, their approved petition is transferred to the U.S. Department of State consulate office in the foreign national’s country so that an interview can be scheduled and the visa foil affixed in their passport.
Beyond these general steps, each permanent residency category has specific procedures that foreign nationals and their sponsors must follow to obtain an immigrant visa. For example, the specific petition form that the sponsor must file is different for family-based immigrants and employment-based immigrants. A citizen or permanent resident who files a petition on behalf of a family member must also prove that they can financially support their relative.
Applying for Permanent Residency from Within the U.S.
Adjustment of status allows nonimmigrants currently residing in the U.S. to become lawful permanent residents if certain requirements are met.
Experienced Green Card Lawyers in Florida
Since opening our doors, Magnolia Immigration Law has become known for demystifying the immigration process and for its quick turnaround times for immigration cases. We commit ourselves to each case and always make ourselves available to clients, so they’re never left in the dark when they have a question about their application. We patiently and thoroughly prepare clients for each stage of the permanent residency process, from helping them complete their paperwork and gathering supporting documentation to providing guidance on consulate and USCIS interviews. We help our clients navigate the immigration process from beginning to end with confidence.
If you have a question about immigration or are sponsoring an employee or family member for an immigrant visa, we invite you to schedule an appointment with our Orlando permanent residency attorneys by calling (321) 334-2777 or sending us a message with your availability.
Our extensive experience in immigration will serve as a huge asset to you and your loved ones as you work on joining the many immigrants who have called the U.S. their home. Fill out our contact form or call (321) 334-2777 to schedule a consultation.