People spend a lot of time talking about immigration issues like green cards, but very few actually understand how difficult the process of legally entering the country can be. For those of you going through the process, you’re not alone.
At the Law Office of David A. Breston, we work with immigration cases on a regular basis. Our green card attorneys in Houston understand the federal process of getting a green card, and we can help you overcome the numerous questions and concerns you may face.
Anyone who wants to spend a significant amount of time in the US going to school, traveling, or working may need to apply for a green card.
The green card is formally referred to as the “I-551 Permanent Resident Card,” and it allows immigrants who are not yet citizens to stay in and work in the US legally. Physically, it is an identification card that will fit in your wallet and identifies you as a permanent resident.
Anyone who wants to become a US citizen will have to apply for and hold an active green card for a certain period of time.
When you apply for a green card, the most common way to obtain permanent resident status is by getting sponsored. You could be sponsored by an employer or a relative or spouse who is a citizen.
Individuals seeking asylum from dire situations in a home country may be eligible for application without sponsorship. A certain number of immigrants are granted green cards after winning a diversity lottery.
Although those are the most commonly cited paths to permanent residency, there are other ways to secure a card legally. Young people in special circumstances may not require a sponsorship or other path to qualify for permanent residency. Widowers of US citizens, as well as battered spouses, parents, and children, may also be able to secure a green card under special family categories.
Those who work in certain fields, such as international organization employees, religious workers, some translators, and armed forces members may fall under special categories of jobs. Still, other programs provide pathways for American Indians who were born in Canada, informants, Haitian refugees, and human trafficking victims, among others.
If you do not recognize a viable pathway to permanent residency, an immigration attorney can help you determine if there is a legal outlet for your situation. The immigration process allows for a range of circumstances, although recognizing them may be difficult at first.
Once you have determined an appropriate pathway, you are likely eligible to start the application process. Depending on your situation, the forms you need to submit will vary.
Our attorneys can help you find the right documentation and put together the information to expedite the process. Many immigration cases are delayed or rejected because of insufficient or erroneous information. We can also provide assistance with other steps in the process. The initial application is only the first step in a complex process.
Once you have acquired a green card, you will be expected to carry the card with you at all times. If an immigration agency or law enforcement officer finds you without your card, you may face up to 30 days of imprisonment and a $100 fine for the offense. Permanent residents are required to follow all local, state, and federal laws including income reporting to the IRS.
Contact our team for more information about green card and immigration law as they pertain to your circumstances.