What is a Green Card?
A green card is the unofficial term for a legal permanent resident card. Green cards are used as a form of ID to keep record of someone’s status as a legal permanent resident to the United States for people who are legally allowed to live and work in the U.S.
Whether you’re working on starting the green card process or are in the middle of the green card process, it’s very important to provide complete and consistent information. To get help with the green card process, contact our immigration lawyers.
The Green Card Process: Issuing A Green Card
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the government agency that’s responsible for dealing with green card applications.
Eligibility in the Green Card Process
If you, someone in your family or a fiancé are in need of a green card, you have to meet green card requirements. To apply for a green card, you must be in the United States and you must:
- Meet one of the eligibility categories for a green card;
- and be admissible to the United States
Most green card applicants are eligible for a green card because they have a qualifying family member who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Learn more about fiancé visas and other information related to family-based immigration.
Another common way people are eligible for a green card is through an approved petition by an employer. Learn more about work visas here.
There are a small number of other ways to be eligible to get a green card, such as a grant of asylum, or as a Religious Worker, or being selected as part of the diversity lottery. Learn more about R-1 visa to become eligible for the Religious Worker green card. Learn more about the diversity lottery here.
Are you not sure if you’re eligible for a green card? Contact us for a consultation.
The Green Card Process: Being Admissible to the United States
People who’ve been convicted of a crime or have violated the conditions of their visa in another way are not admissible to the U.S. under the rules for the green card process. Another example of people not being admissible through the green card process would be if the green card applicant misrepresented themselves or their reasons for coming to the U.S. to government officials.
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides the following reasons that would make someone not admissible for a green card and permanent resident status in the U.S.:
- Health reasons, such as not having proof of vaccinations for specific diseases, like polio, tetanus and hepatitis B, among others.
- Criminal reasons, such as committing a crime
- Security reasons, such as participating in terrorist activities
- Becoming a public charge
- Failing to meet labor certification and qualifications for certain visas
- Previously entering the US without the proper documentation
- Failing to provide required documentation
- Having been removed from the U.S. (also known as being deported)
Do you meet green card requirements? If you have questions about if you meet green card requirements, contact our immigration lawyers.
How to Apply For A Green Card
If you determine that you or a loved one are eligible for a green card, you will need to complete the green card application form and gather your supporting evidence. To apply for a green card you will need to file a Form I-485 with USCIS. If you have any admissibility issues, you may need to submit additional supporting evidence or even a waiver application, if available.
If you need help assessing whether you are eligible for a green card, what evidence you need to submit or whether you need a waiver, contact our immigration lawyers.
Complete, Accurate Forms Are Very Important to the Green Card Process
It’s important to closely follow all form instructions when completing the green card forms. A form that isn’t complete and accurate could prevent U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from processing your application, delaying or preventing you or your loved one from being able to get a green card.
If you need help figuring out which forms you need to complete or need help completing green card forms, talk to our immigration lawyers.
Permanent Residence (Green Cards) May Not Be Permanent
Once you have your green card, you have permission to live and work in the US indefinitely. You may, however, lose your green card status under certain circumstances. For example, many kinds of convictions can make someone able to be deported. This means you would be placed in removal (deportation) proceedings in immigration court. You would have to defend yourself against being deported. In some cases, there may be no defense to these charges. This issue can also come up every time you cross the border to return to the US. You may be found to be inadmissible based on a conviction. This means that you may not be able to re-enter the US.
Another way that you can lose your green card status is by leaving the US without having enough proof of your intention to return to the US to live. This issue comes up when you return to the US from a trip abroad. This includes trips to Canada. The longer you stay out of the country, the more customs inspectors will question you about the purpose of your trip and your ties abroad versus ties to the US.
Have questions about permanent resident status? Contact us for a consultation.
Don’t Risk Going Through the Green Card Process Alone
The green card process has many steps and requirements. The green card process is not only long but any mistakes, even ones that may seem like a small error, can delay the green card process or make you ineligible to apply for a green card for years.
For decades, our experienced immigration lawyers have helped guide people through what can be a confusing process to get a green card.
Because errors can delay or prevent completion of the green card process, it’s important that you speak with a NY immigration lawyer. To schedule a consultation, contact us.
Don’t Get Delayed. Schedule A Consultation Today.
Becoming a US citizen isn’t easy. There are a lot of requirements that need to be met to be eligible for US citizenship. While free initial consultations typically don’t provide the attention, time and care needed to provide meaningful legal advice, Moon Law Office’s no obligation initial consultation provides an in-depth review of all paperwork related to citizenship status.
For an initial consultation that gives meaningful guidance on what comes next, contact us.