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What Do I Need to Become a Lawful Permanent Resident in the U.S.?

How to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States of America.

You want to come to the United States to live and work permanently, but it isn’t as simple as packing up your belongings and getting on a plane.  In order for you to become a permanent resident, you must have an immigrant visa available to you.  There are multiple ways that you may be eligible for an immigrant visa so that you can apply to become a lawful permanent resident in the United States.  One, or more, of these options may apply to your situation.  An immigration lawyer in Clearwater can help you determine which category, or categories, you qualify for.  You should work with the immigration attorney to analyze which option is best for your situation.

Employment Based Immigrant Visas:

There are several types of employment related immigrant visas.  Some require that you be sponsored by an employer while other types of employment-based immigrant visas allow applicants to self-petition.   Many of the visas require potential employers to demonstrate that there are no U.S. workers ready, willing and able to do the job for which the intending immigrant will be hired.  For all employment visas, the applicant must show that they have the skills, education and experience needed to do the job.

Family Based Immigrant Visas:

If you have family members who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents of the U.S., they may be able to petition for you to obtain your green card.  U.S. citizens may file for their spouses, children, parents and siblings to obtain permanent resident status.  Lawful Permanent Residents may petition for their spouses and children.  There are different processing times and methods for each of these categories, so it is best to meet with an immigration attorney to determine how to best move your case forward.

Immigrant Visa Lottery:

We have a diversity visa lottery which was put in place to increase diversity within our nation.  The Department of State records how many immigrants come to the United States from each country.  A small number of countries utilize the majority of immigrant visas.  The visa lottery gives citizens of underrepresented countries an opportunity to come to the United States.  In order to apply for lawful permanent resident status through the lottery, you must be a native of an underrepresented country.  You also must be a high school graduate or meet certain work-related requirements.   Spouses and children of diversity visa lottery winners may join them in immigrating to the United States.

Asylum or Refugee:

If you were forced to flee your country due to violence or persecution for religious, political or other beliefs, you might qualify for permanent resident status for humanitarian reasons.  If you are seeking asylum, let an attorney in Clearwater help you create a clear plan of action.

Investment in the United States:

Entrepreneurs who invest $1.8 million in a business in the United States and create at least 10 new jobs for U.S. workers can qualify for lawful permanent resident status. In certain situations, an investment of $900,00 will suffice.  This process is extremely complicated and should not be undertaken without the help of an immigration lawyer in Clearwater.

Special Immigrant Juvenile:

Foreign children living in the United States who have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their parent may be eligible to become lawful permanent residents of the United States.  To qualify, a child must be found to be dependent by a state Juvenile Court.  If the child cannot be reunified with his or her parent and return to the child’s home country would not be in the child’s best interests, then the child may be able to become a permanent resident of the United States.

Application Process:

Once your immigrant visa application is approved, you may apply for lawful permanent resident status.  If you are legally in the United States at the time that your immigrant visa is approved, you may be eligible to file an I-485 Application and adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident of the United States.    Applications to adjust status must be filed with the appropriate supporting documentation in order to be approved.  Intending immigrants will be required to attend a biometrics appointment where their fingerprints and photographs will be taken.  The applicant will also be scheduled for an interview with a USCIS officer.

Intending immigrants who are not in the United States or are not able to adjust status will need to complete the process through the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.  If you must consular process, you will begin working with the National Visa Center (NVC) once your underlying immigrant visa is approved and available.  You will complete DS-230 Parts I and II and submit supporting documentation to the NVC.  The NVC handles the initial review of your application and transfers your case to the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate when it is time for the intending immigrant to be interviewed.

Benefits of Consulting with an Immigration Attorney:

Becoming a lawful permanent resident of the United States is a complicated process.  An immigration attorney can analyze your situation thoroughly to help you determine how you best qualify to become a permanent resident.  Not every person who is eligible for an immigrant visa will be allowed to become a lawful permanent resident.  One of the most important reasons to consult with an immigration attorney before you apply for your green card is to determine if you have any grounds for inadmissibility that you many not be aware of.

Contact Julie Beth Jouben P.A. for Legal Assistance when Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States

If you have complications in your immigration law case, an immigration attorney will identify them for you ahead of time so that you may address them head on.  At the law firm of Julie Beth Jouben, P.A., we can assist you in evaluating and preparing your application for an immigrant visa and your application for lawful permanent resident status in the United States.

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