What Is a Green Card?
A green card is a legal document that provides a person with permanent residence status. With this status, a person can live and work permanently within the United States. For those who wish to remain in the United States, getting a green card is one of the best possible avenues for doing so, aside from seeking citizenship.
Who’s Eligible for a Green Card?
There are eight different categories of eligibility for a green card. These are:
- Green card through registry, which is for those who have resided continuously in the United States since before January 1972;
- Green card for victims of abuse;
- Green card for victims of crime or human trafficking;
- Green card for those who have asylee or refugee status;
- Green card for those who have special immigrant status, which includes international broadcasters, special immigrant juveniles, Afghanistan or Iraq nationals, and religious workers;
- Green card through employment;
- Green card through family; and
- Green card through certain other categories, such as the Cuban Adjustment Act, Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LFIF), and more. You can see the full list on the website of U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The Process of Applying for a Green Card
If you are eligible for a green card–which you should determine based on a consultation with an immigration attorney–then the process will generally involve five steps.
First, you will likely need to have someone else file an immigration petition for you – this person is your sponsor. For example, an employer may file the petition.
If your petition is approved, only then can you file an application for a green card with USCIS (or a visa application with the Department of State).
Next, you’ll need to go to a biometrics appointment where your fingerprints will be taken. If requested by USCIS, you’ll also need to attend an interview.
Finally, you’ll receive a decision from USCIS. If your application is denied, you’ll be told the reason for the denial in the denial letter.
How Illinois Immigration Law Group Can Help You
Our Illinois immigration lawyers are available to help you along every step of the process. We’ll explore your case to determine eligibility and handle all paperwork and document filings throughout the process. If you have questions, we can provide accurate answers.
We know how difficult getting a green card is, and we want to do everything we can to simplify the process for you and improve your chances of success. Please call our lawyers directly today for a free consultation and more information about how we can help.