What Does It Mean To Have A Green Card?
Achieving legal permanent residency in the United States is a significant accomplishment for millions of immigrants. Commonly known as a “green card,” obtaining permanent residency means you can stay in the United States as long as you would like and enjoy many of the privileges granted to U.S. citizens. In fact, getting a green card can be part of your path to earning citizenship. As a green card holder you may live, work, and travel in and out of the United States. However, actually overcoming the legal and bureaucratic obstacles to obtaining a green card is not easy.
The are several methods under the immigration law for obtaining a green card:
- Green Card Through Family — One way to obtain a green card is by having an immediate relative sponsor you, such as a spouse, parent or sibling.
- Green Card Through a Job — If you have been offered a job by a U.S. company, are an investor or entrepreneur, or are a religious worker, you may be eligible for a green card.
- Green Card Through Refugee or Asylum Status — Persons subjected to political oppression and violence in their home country may be entitled to receive a green card one year after their entrance into the United States as a refugee or asylee.
- Additional ways to get a green card — Certain members of the armed forces, victims of domestic violence, persons born to foreign diplomats, and other special categories of immigrants could be eligible for permanent residency status. Ask our attorneys to see if you qualify.
Do I Need A Lawyer To Get A Green Card?
While it should be a straightforward process to obtain a green card, unfortunately the U.S. immigration system is unbelievably complicated. Having a lawyer who has connections within the system and a deep understanding of immigration law is an invaluable asset. Immigration attorneys spend years developing an intricate knowledge of the ins and outs of the system — their wisdom and advocacy can help make the process smoother, less stressful, and ultimately more successful.
In the process of applying for a green card, you may encounter one or more of these obstacles:
- Your application is denied due to a serious health condition, a past criminal conviction, or a prior immigration history
- The government misplaces your application
- The government asks you for documents you don’t have or that don’t exist
- You are denied access to your file while your case is pending
- You have to travel back and forth for hours to a distant immigration office
- You are unable to contact a person within the immigration system to discuss your case or ask a question
Unfortunately, the government does not make it easy to obtain a green card, even when you are more than eligible. In addition, you may lose your green card if you are convicted of certain crimes or if you are determined to have abandoned your residence by staying outside the United States for longer than a one year period.
Contact Our Austin Lawyers About Your Green Card Today
The immigration attorneys at Walker Gates Vela welcome immigrants and their families to schedule an initial consultation. When we meet, we can give you information about the specific laws pertaining to your unique situation, whether or not you are eligible to obtain a green card, how to demonstrate compliance with the U.S. immigration laws, and, if you’re eligible, how to obtain your green card.
At Walker Gates Vela, we know the value of your immigration status. We use every resource we have to ensure your application or appeal is successful.
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