Law & Legal & Attorney Immigration Law

Green Card 101 - Details on Green Card

Procedures regarding immigration law are often very sensitive and timely.
Legislation is under continual evaluation and reform, we like to keep our clients informed and updated.
The following are some frequently asked questions about immigration processes: Q: What is a green card? A: A green card gives an alien (foreign national) the right to permanently live and work in the United States .
The card itself is a government-issued identification (about the size of and resembles a driver's license), that serves as proof of permanent resident status in the U.
S.
A green card holder, also known as a lawful permanent resident (LPR), may leave and re-enter the U.
S.
at any time and has the opportunity to become a U.
S.
citizen.
Although referred to as "permanent," a green card may be revoked if the holder breaks certain laws, does not maintain residence in the U.
S.
, or travels outside the U.
S.
for an extended period of time.
Q: Can my relative sponsor me for a green card? A: If you have a relative who is a U.
S.
citizen or who has permanent residency status, you may also be eligible to obtain permanent status in the United States .
For the relative to sponsor you to immigrate to the United States , he/she must be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.
S.
and be able to provide documentation proving that status.
He/she must also provide documentation that shows that he/she can support you at above the mandated poverty line, by filling out an Affidavit of Support.
Most importantly, your eligibility to be sponsored by your relative in the United States depends on whether your relative is a U.
S.
citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
Any U.
S.
citizen may sponsor his or her close family members for a green card.
Provided that the sponsor is at least 21 years old, this includes a husband or wife, unmarried children under the age of 21, a married son and daughter of any age, siblings, and parents.
A green card holder (lawful permanent resident), may sponsor their husband or wife, and/or unmarried son or daughter of any age.
Q: How long do I have to wait before I can apply for a green card? A: If you wish to immigrate as a relative of a U.
S.
citizen or lawful permanent resident, you must obtain an immigrant visa number based on the preference category in which you qualify.
People who want to become immigrants are classified into categories based on a preference system.
The immediate relatives of U.
S.
citizens who include parents, spouses, and unmarried children under the age of 21 do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available once the visa petition filed for them is approved by the USCIS.
An immigrant visa number will become immediately available.
The relatives in the remaining categories must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available according to the following preferences: First Preference - unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.
S.
citizens over the age of 21; Second Preference - spouses of lawful permanent residents, their unmarried children (under 21), and the unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents; Third Preference - married sons and daughters of U.
S.
citizens; and Fourth Preference - brothers and sister of adult U.
S.
citizens.
Once the USCIS receives the visa petition (Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative), it will subsequently be approved or denied according to the nature of the application.
The USCIS notifies the person who filed the visa petition if it was approved.
The approved visa petition will be sent to the Department of State's National Visa Center , where it will remain until an immigrant visa number is available.
The Center will notify the foreign national when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is available.
You do not need to contact the National Visa Center unless you change your address, or if there is a change in your personal situation or that of your sponsor that may affect eligibility for an immigrant visa such as reaching age 21, marriage, divorce, or death of a spouse.
The U.
S.
Department of State's website will tell how long it will take to apply for the green card depending on what preference category you fall into.


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