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The United States immigration system has many different facets, and the process that needs to be followed is based upon what you are trying to achieve. If you are looking to obtain permanent resident status — also known as having your Green Card — there are several different ways that you can accomplish this, including through a family connection, through a job, or by applying for and being granted refugee or asylee status. The steps that need to be taken also depend upon whether you are applying from inside the United States or outside of the country. Once a person has become a permanent resident, they are able to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. If you need assistance with the process, please call Reinherz Law – our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys have extensive experience in assisting those who are trying to navigate the immigration system.

Most applicants for Green Cards obtain them as a result of a familial relationship. If you are the spouse, the parent, or the child of a citizen you may be eligible. You may also get preference if you are an unmarried adult son or daughter of a citizen, a married child of a citizen or a sibling of a citizen. The timeline for getting a green card depends upon your status and relationship as well as where you are geographically located, as described below.

  • Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are inside the United States are able to obtain permanent resident status through a one step process or a two-step process. For immediate relatives, all that is required is filling out Form I-485 at the same time that your relative fills out and files Form I-130.
  • The two-step process for qualified relatives that are already inside the United States requires that a Form I-130 is first filled out by a petitioner. Once it is approved you will receive Form I-797, and a copy of this needs to be submitted with your completed Form I-485.
  • For those with immediate relatives who are citizens but who are outside the United States, the process requires consular processing. Form I-130 needs to be submitted and allows that once a visa is available you can be admitted at a U.S. port of entry. As a permanent resident.

The timeline for processing green card applications is generally dependent upon what office is handling your case, what type of form is filed and how busy the office is at the time that they receive your application. Though those who are immediate relatives may not need to wait for USCIS approval, for others the review process on a visa petition can take several months or even years. For assistance in filling out forms or understanding the process, contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Reinherz Law today.

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