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Green Card



Once an immigrant becomes a permanent resident, that individual is granted legal authorization to permanently live and work in the United States. A green card, or a permanent resident card, is a card that shows proof of this immigration status. There are a number of ways to become a permanent resident, whether the individual is applying from outside the U.S. or whether the person is already living in the U.S. and trying to adjust his or her legal immigration status. Some of the pathways to permanent residency are through family members, job opportunities and refugee and asylum status, though there are also others. VICTORIA BARR LAW FIRM provides an overview of some of these methods below.


Family Members: If you have a close family member who is a U.S. citizen, you might be able to use that as grounds for obtaining a green card (through family-based immigration). As outlined by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. citizens are allowed to petition to have certain types of immediate relatives join them in the U.S. and become permanent residents. These relatives include spouses, unmarried children (under 21 years of age) and parents (if the U.S. citizen petitioner is over the age of 21). Those in the “immediate relative” category have special immigration priority, particularly since the category has an unlimited number of visas available. U.S. citizens can also file petitions for other types of relatives who are not considered “immediate relatives,” such as siblings and unmarried children over the age of 21. These individuals fall under the “family preference category.” Obtaining green cards for these relatives can require longer waiting periods due to immigration limits that have been placed by Congress. Permanent residents, or green card holders, are also allowed to petition on behalf of certain family members—particularly spouses and unmarried children of any age—under the family preference category. Job Opportunities: Another opportunity for obtaining a green card can occur through employment. In certain professional fields and in certain parts of the country, there are not enough U.S. workers who have the qualifications, abilities or simply the willingness to meet the industry’s demands. This often opens the doors for foreign nationals to obtain permanent residency in the United States if they are offered such positions or have professional abilities in these areas. High priority is particularly given to those considered to be “highly skilled workers.” Sometimes it is necessary to obtain certification from the U.S. Department of Labor to ensure that the job is in a truly in a high-need sector. Furthermore, green cards are also often given to foreign nationals in the “investor/entrepreneur” category, particularly if they are investing in business ventures that are expected to create jobs in the U.S. Refugee and Asylum Status: Refugees and asylum seekers can apply for green cards. These are generally individuals who are trying to flee or who have fled their home countries due to some type of government persecution, often due to their regions, political beliefs or ethnic backgrounds. According to USCIS, those granted refuge must apply for permanent residency one year after being admitted into the U.S. While those seeking asylum are not subject to such a requirement, they are eligible to apply for permanent residency after one year.


In addition to these methods, there are also other ways individuals can obtain permanent resident cards. Because each case is based on a different set of circumstances, it is of utmost importance to consult with a knowledgeable immigration attorney when dealing with this process. The team at VICTORIA BARR LAW FIRM is more than equipped to help you with a variety of immigration issues. If you are in need of help internationally, we can travel to your country’s U.S. embassy to negotiate on your behalf. Contact our Dallas immigration attorney and learn about how you might be able to obtain a green card!
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