People worldwide dream of getting their green card, a document that allows them to live permanently in the United States and eventually apply for citizenship. The official name for a green card holder is a Lawful Permanent Resident.

If you are applying for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status in Groveland, consider engaging the services of a local green card attorney. They could explain the process, ensure your paperwork is complete, and help you avoid unnecessary and unreasonable delays.

Who May Apply for a Green Card?

Only some people are eligible to apply for LPR status. Most eligible people have a sponsor—typically a family member or employer. Your sponsor must file a petition in support of your application. The petition is Form I-130 if your sponsor is a family member and Form I-140 if your sponsor is an employer.

A U.S. citizen’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 may file their green card application simultaneously when the citizen files the petition. Others must wait until their sponsor’s petition is approved and a visa is available in their category before filing their applications.

People granted asylum are also eligible to apply for a green card. The U.S. also offers the opportunity to apply for LPR status to certain people they classify as “Special Immigrants.” People willing to invest a substantial sum in a U.S. enterprise to create jobs could also apply. A Groveland attorney could advise someone about whether they qualify to apply for a green card.

The LPR Application Process

The U.S. issues a limited number of immigrant visas in most categories. When a sponsor submits a petition in support of a foreign national’s immigration, the date they submitted the petition becomes the applicant’s priority date. If the sponsor needs a Department of Labor certification, the date they submitted the request for certification is the applicant’s priority date.

Applying From Within the U.S.

Your priority date, country of origin, and the type of visa you request determine your place in the queue. You should check your place in line every month in the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin. The Bulletin will list the priority dates eligible to file Form I-485, your application.

A Groveland attorney could help you complete the LPR application and compile the required supporting documentation. Assuming the adjudicators do not seek additional information, most applicants could expect to receive a notice with their interview date in eight to eighteen months.

Consular Processing

Applicants outside the United States must use the consular process to obtain an Immigrant Visa. Like applicants within the U.S., they must wait until their sponsor’s petition is approved and a visa becomes available before applying for an Immigrant Visa.

Some immigrant visas, such as those issued on humanitarian grounds, through the visa lottery, or for “Special Immigrants,” do not require sponsors. They can file an immigration petition on your own behalf. However, it is wise to consult an immigration attorney to ensure you complete all the forms correctly and provide all the necessary supporting documents.

When the application is approved, and a visa in your category becomes available, you must make an appointment for an interview at the U.S. Consulate in the country where you live. If your interview is successful, you will receive a visa package in the mail within a few weeks. You can travel to the U.S., and if the border agent admits you—they have the power to deny entry, even though you have a visa—you can begin your life in the United States.

Preparing for the USCIS Interview

An interview with a USCIS officer is usually the final step if you apply from within the country. Knowing what to expect could help you get through this last step confidently and successfully.

The interviewer could ask you about anything in your application or supporting documents. They will want to know if anything has changed since you submitted your application. If anything in your green card application could be a problem, the interviewer will likely ask about it, and a Groveland attorney could help you form an answer likely to satisfy the interviewer.

When the interview is complete, the interviewer sometimes tells you whether your application is approved, but not always. Sometimes they need additional information or will schedule another interview. If the USCIS officer approves your application, you could receive your green card within a few weeks.

Contact a Groveland Attorney for Help Applying for a Green Card

The green card application process is lengthy and complex. Working with an experienced immigration attorney could ease the process.

If becoming a lawful Permanent Resident is important to you, you should not leave anything to chance. Contact a local immigration lawyer if you are applying for Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR) in Groveland.