If you are a non-U.S. citizen who wants to obtain permanent residence in the United States, what you need is a document known as a green card. A green card is officially called a Permanent Resident Card, and it got its nickname from its green color. It provides the ability to live and work in the U.S. It also provides the ability to apply for and qualify for citizenship after spending a few years in the country.

Most green cards are provided to people who are related to U.S. citizens or other green card holders, though many others are issued to people from outside of the U.S. who are seeking work in the United States, who are refugees or people seeking asylum, human trafficking and abuse or crime victims, those who are chosen randomly through the diversity lottery program, and those who have physically lived in the United States since January 1, 1972.

With so many different reasons and circumstances under which a person might seek a Permanent Resident Card, there are different paths and application processes to getting one, and even within each separate category, the process can vary. If you are a foreign national seeking a green card for employment purposes, you or your employer needs to fill out a form called an I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, and once that is approved the foreign national applies for the green card itself using Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence. If you are seeking a family-based green card, your family member who is a citizen can petition on your behalf using USCIS Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative followed or accompanied by the same Form I-485. If you are not currently in the United States, you must go through consular process, having your application approved by the U.S. Department of State. The Department of State will issue a visa to get a green card once you are admitted into the country. Others, including those facing domestic abuse, may fill out a Special Immigrant form known as the I-360.

The process of obtaining a Permanent Resident Card has always been tortuous and is made even more challenging by the current political climate. For assistance with the process, contact our experienced immigration attorneys today to set up a convenient time to meet and discuss your case.

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