San Jose Green Card Lawyers Who Can Help With Permanent Residency
Permanent residency status, commonly known as having a “green card,” allows foreign nationals live and work in the United States for as long as they want. It is also a key step on the path toward citizenship. Our attorneys fight to help immigrants in the Bay Area and northern California pursue their dreams. We can guide you through the process with zealous attention to detail and determination to help you and your family stay in this country permanently.
If you or a family member plan to apply for permanent residence in the United States, you should know that the process can be extremely time-consuming, complicated, and frustrating. That’s why many applicants elect to work with a green card lawyer who can help them navigate the system and make sure everything is submitted properly to give them the best chance at obtaining a green card.
To get help with a green card application, call Yemi Getachew Immigration Law Office P.C. today at 408-292-7995. Or reach out online and send us a message to schedule a consultation. Our team can get you the assistance you need to get started right away.
To learn about getting green card status, call 408-292-7995. Our law firm knows immigration law and is passionate about helping people remain in the United States.
What Is a Green Card?
A green card is the same thing as a Lawful Permanent Resident Card. This is proof that you have a right to live and work permanently in the United States. It is an ID card that you may have to present to prove you have permission to be in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.
If you intend to apply for U.S. citizenship, obtaining a green card is the first step toward that. There are other benefits to having a green card, including the right to buy and sell real estate so that you can own a home. If you need a job to support yourself, a green card gives you the right to work at nearly any job that will hire you.
How Do You Qualify for a Green Card?
There are multiple ways to qualify for a green card, depending on your personal situation. As a green card attorney, attorneys at Yemi Getachew Immigration Law Office can help you make sure you use the qualification that best suits your circumstances and gives you the greatest likelihood of acceptance.
Family-Based Green Card
This is a green card based on a family member sponsoring the applicant. There are two categories for this:
- Immediate relatives of citizens of the U.S. – includes spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizens, with no waiting in line for visas to become available and not subject to the annual visa limit
- The preference system – includes other close relatives of U.S. citizens, plus spouses and children of lawful permanent residents
To obtain a family-based green card, certain documentation is required:
- Proof that the petitioner is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
- Evidence of the familial relationship between the petitioner and the applicant
- Proof that the sponsoring petitioner’s income is 125 percent above poverty guidelines for the number of dependents
Once the petition for a green card has been filed, the applicant goes through either adjustment of status (for those already in the U.S.) or consular processing (for those outside the US) to obtain a green card.
Employment-Based Green Card
Employment-based green cards can be for both unskilled laborers and those with advanced knowledge in their field. In most cases, the applicant must have a permanent job offer from a US employer, who acts as a sponsor for the green card process. There is an annual limit of 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas.
Employment-based green cards are divided into subcategories:
- EB-1 – for people who have high acclaim in the arts, business, science, sports, or education (job offer not always required)
- EB-2 – for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in the arts, business, or science
- EB-3 – for those who hold a Bachelor’s Degree or comparable training and for unskilled workers where their jobs require their particular experience
- EB-4 – for special immigrants, such as ministers, religious workers, and former US government employees who are foreign nationals
- EB-5 – for foreign nationals who have invested or are in the process of investing in designated areas (AKA Investment-Based Green Card, which starts with a two-year permanent residence that may be extended)
The employer files a labor certification application (PERM) with the Department of Labor prior to the immigrant petition for a green card. Then, the applicant undergoes adjustment of status or consular processing as the final step.
Obtaining a green card via adoption can be a complicated process, with different laws applied beyond those for permanent residence. We work with clients on:
- Hague Convention adoptions
- Non-Hague Convention adoptions
- Adopting relatives living abroad
- Adoptions of foreign-born orphans
An immigration attorney is definitely recommended in all adoptions to ensure everything is done properly.
Asylum-Based Green Card
After a year of being granted asylum in the United States, some immigrants are eligible to apply for asylum-based green cards. This is typically done through adjustment of status. The applicant’s spouse and children can also apply for a green card via adjustment of status.
Asylum-based green card applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Have been physically present in the U.S. at least one year after being granted asylum status
- Have not abandoned their asylee status (leaving the U.S. without permission)
- Be admissible to the U.S. or have a waiver for inadmissibility (such as for health conditions)
- Meet the conditions of an asylee (still not safe to return to their previous country of residence or native land)
Self-Sponsored Green Card
There are three ways applicants for a U.S. green card can sponsor themselves and not need a family member or employer to petition for them:
- Victims of crime under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which includes abuse by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent, abuse by a U.S. citizen child, or abuse of the applicant’s child by a spouse who is a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen
- EB-1A Alien of Extraordinary Ability
- EB-1B Outstanding Professors or Researchers
Do Green Cards Expire?
Green cards typically expire every 10 years. While your permanent resident status does not expire, your ID card does. You need your green card for traveling outside the U.S., and immigration authorities or employers may request it. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure your green card is renewed properly by filing form I-90. We assist immigrants with this process to ensure it’s done correctly and to help when situations arise that interfere with renewal, such as an arrest since obtaining the green card.
The Benefits Of Having A Green Card
Having green card status carries several benefits. With a green card, you have several rights you did not enjoy while on temporary status, such as:
- The right to live permanently in the U.S.
- The right to buy and sell real estate
- The right to take almost any job you qualify for
- Perhaps most importantly, the right to eventually qualify for U.S. citizenship
The process can take several years to complete. We will help you stay in this country while working toward permanent residency, using tools like conditional two-year green cards.
Compassion And Excellence From California Immigration Lawyers
Over the years, our team has helped thousands of clients address their immigration law concerns. We are very familiar with all the specific green card applications, including those involving marriages, siblings, etc. Having an experienced and skilled immigration attorney working on your case can make all the difference. Go ahead and reach out to us today.
Should You Get a Green Card Lawyer?
With so much riding on your visa status, it’s vital to engage an experienced green card immigration lawyer to help with the process. It will make it easier on you and give you the greatest chance of a positive outcome.
Attorney fees for a green card through marriage, for example, are well worth it to be able to have your spouse join you in the United States. Our clients tell us that immigration lawyer fees for a green card in other categories are also money well spent because it gave them peace of mind and success in the end.
The immigration system in the U.S. can be extremely complicated and full of complex documents and language. If English is not your first language, this can be even more stressful.
Don’t risk being denied a green card for yourself or a family member by trying to do it all yourself. Call the law offices of Yemi Getachew today at 408-292-7995 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.