A green card, better known as a Permanent Residency Card, is the only means to permanent residency in the United States and is required for those who one day wish to become naturalized U.S. citizens. A green card can be obtained through employment, family, asylum, U and T Visas or investment means. Applications, however, can take time and be complex.
A skilled immigration attorney, Gopal Shah doesn't just fill out applications for clients, but he takes into consideration specific circumstances and provides detailed, comprehensive, and organized green card application packages to highlight your qualifications and guide the adjudicator so that the process is smooth and–hopefully–faster. If you seek permanent residency for yourself or for you and your family, contact Gopal Shah's California-based office today.
Types of Green Cards
A green card gives a person permanent permission to live and work in the United States. But someone may loose the Green Card because of crimes and fraud. Green cards are normally valid for 10 years. Before the end of the green card duration, you can apply for naturalization or may need to renew your green card so that you have proof of your immigration status.
Green cards are typically based on employment or family. As such, the "types" of green cards available are related to employment and family as well as investments or humanitarian programs.
Employment-Based Green Cards
Employment-based green cards are granted to those workers who can fill vacancies at U.S. companies or organizations that have not been filled by U.S. Americans even after advertising the positions. Under this green card type, the employer sponsors you.
Family-Based Green Cards
Family-based green cards are the most common type. Typically, a family member who is either a lawful permanent resident or a U.S. citizen supports your bid for permanent residency in the United States.
Investment-Based Green Cards
This is a less common way to obtain permanent residency because it is the most costly way. To obtain it, the applicant must invest a minimum of $900,000 or 1,800,000 into a business in the United States that will create at least 10 jobs.
Humanitarian-Based and Other ways to get Green Cards
Most green cards granted for humanitarian reasons are those granted to refugees or asylum-seekers. Asylees must have been granted asylum and have been in the United States for at least one year since granted this statute before they can apply for permanent residency. Many Special Immigrants, Victims of Crime and Abuse can also apply for Green Cards.
Common Challenges to Obtain a Green Card
Qualifying for a green card can sometimes be met with challenges. Some challenges are specific to the green card category while others are more general. Below are just a few of these challenges.
Application Process. The application process is long and complex, plus, you need a petitioner. You can't apply for a green card of your own free will unless you are a refugee or asylee or victims of crimes and abuse or someone with a special Immigrant Status. . The petitioner must be able to support you financially and legally, and you and the petitioner must be able to prove this. The forms may be clear but the process is not. It can get overwhelming pretty easy, and so the application itself can be the most challenging part of the immigration process.
Criminal Records. A criminal record can cause serious challenges regardless of whether you are applying for the first time or renewing your green card. Some criminal convictions can bar you from entering the United States while others could result in deportation if already in the United States.
Limited Availability. There are limited numbers of Immigrant visas and Green cards available in many categories every year. If you are applying for a green card based on employment or investment, a cap of 140,000 permanent residency cards is in place. Consider there is at least twice that number applying each year, that number makes this a challenge hard to overcome but for the help of an experienced attorney.
Support. As mentioned, whether you are seeking permanent residence based on employment or family, you need a petitioner who can support you. Sometimes, especially for family-based green card applications, it's hard to find a family member who satisfies the economic and financial requirements.
Uncertainty. Though listed last here, this is by far the first and foremost challenge. Immigration laws – from one administration to another – in the United States are always changing. In recent years, there have been rules put into place that have made it harder to enter the United States and that have made it easier to deport or remove people from the United States. It's an uncertain time and this uncertainty poses risks and causes for concern.
What Can an Immigration Attorney do to help you?
With an experienced attorney, you benefit from insight and knowledge of the immigration system. Through this knowledge, your application packages will be more complete and more organized, leading to a smoother and faster process. Though each case is different, to get the best outcome in your case, reach out to an experienced immigration attorney in California today.
Gopal Shah dedicates his practice to people like him: those who want and can make the United States their home permanently. Contact his office at (510) 402-4570 today to schedule a consultation.