San Diego, CA- Immigrants understand the many benefits that go along with being a green card holder of a legal permanent resident. With a green card an immigrant is not only allowed to legally work in the U.S. but they are also allowed to travel freely overseas and can eventually apply for citizenship. There are a number of ways to apply for green card, but the most common way to get legal residency is through the sponsorship of a relative who is a U.S. citizen.

An immigrant an apply for a family-based green card if they meet one or more of the following requirements outlined as outlined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services:

  • Applicant must be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, which includes spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of green card applicants who are 21 or older.
  • Applicant must be a family member of a U.S. citizen fitting into a preference category, which includes unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21, married children of any age, and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older.
  • Applicant must be a family member of a green card holder, which includes spouses, unmarried children of the green card sponsors.
  • Applicant must be a member of a special category including a battered spouse or child (VAWA), a K nonimmigrant, a person born to a foreign diplomat in the United States, a V nonimmigrant or a widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen.

The first step in obtain a family-based green card is to file for a visa petition. They apply for green card along with visa petition or after their petition can be approved.

It seems simple enough to fill out a visa petition or green card application, but this is an important stage in the process and one minor mistake or omitted detail can jeopardize an individual’s application. A mistake however unintentional can cause a visa or green card application to be denied and the months long process must be started all over again. The application stage of the obtaining a green card is very important and an immigrant will have a better chance of getting their application approved when they enlist the services of an immigration attorney.

An immigrant can apply for a green card before they enter the U.S. or after they gain lawful entry. When an immigrant applies for a green card is largely dependent on their individual circumstances so they need to consult with an immigration lawyer. Nonetheless, whether an immigrant applies for a green card before or after they have entered the U.S., they still  have a great deal of documentation they will need to provide to immigration authorities.

On occasion, some green card petitions are denied, sometimes for small procedural problems such as failing to pay a fee or for more complex issues. Allowing and immigration attorney to help you with from the beginning of the process by filling out the necessary applications can be beneficial if more complex issues arise.

If an initial green-card application is denied, an immigrant can appeal a decision before the Board of Immigration Appeals. This is much more complicated process and an immigrant will definitely need the help of an outstanding immigration attorney.