Experienced Immigration Law Firm Assisting with “Green Cards” and Permanent Resident Status in all of the United States

For many people who come to this country in pursuit of the American dream, attaining permanent residence (the “green card”) is a crucial first step on the path to becoming a citizen.  There are several pathways to becoming a permanent resident.  Some people get their green card through their family members such as their spouse, fiancé, parent, or child.  Some people get their green cards through the employment based immigration process.  Other people get their permanent resident status through asylum or relief from removal.

For the first two processes listed above, someone or some business must file a petition for the foreign national.  These are “immigrant visa” petitions.  These visa petitions include both family based cases (I-130 or I-129F) or employment based cases (I-140).  Then, after USCIS approves the visa petition, the person can file to either adjust their status (if they are physically in the U.S. and are eligible) or process through the U.S. consulate abroad (if they are outside the U.S. or they are in the U.S. and are not eligible to adjust status).

In addition to the approved visa petition, the law requires the government to review other factors to ensure eligibility.  This task falls under the purview of either U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) if the person is present in the U.S. (and sometimes an immigration judge if the person is in removal proceedings) or the U.S. Department of State and the consulate at which the person processes.  In considering whether to grant lawful permanent resident status, the government looks at the following factors (as well as others):

  • How a person entered the U.S.; whether using a visa (fake or real) and going through a checkpoint or airport, or hiding in a truck or car or running across the border;
  • Whether a person who is adjusting status maintained their lawful non-immigrant status;
  • Whether the person who is adjusting status worked in the United States without authorization;
  • Whether the person who is adjusting status worked as an unauthorized alien;
  • Whether a court convicted the person of certain crimes
  • Whether the person has any “diseases of public significance”;
  • Whether the person is likely to become a public charge and needs an affidavit of financial support;
  • Whether the person lied to an immigration official or lied to get an immigration benefit (including on the form I-9 to get work);
  • Whether the person falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen (including on the form I-9 to get work);
  • Whether the government previously ordered the person deported or removed from the United States;
  • Whether the person was in the U.S. unlawfully for at least 180 days and then departed the U.S.;
  • Whether the person was in the U.S. unlawfully for at least a year and then departed and attempted to return or did return; and
  • Whether the person was in the U.S. and had been ordered removed, deported, and then attempted to return or did return.

The above is the short list of eligibility factors.  These and others determine whether the person is ineligible pursuant to INA § 245(c) or the persona is inadmissible under INA § 212.  These are threshold matters meaning you should make these determinations prior to filing.

The law permits adjustment of status for some cases where the foreign national marries a U.S. citizen.  As well, the immigration laws permit foreign nationals to file waivers for some of the above indiscretions.  Waivers for immigration violations come in different forms and require eligibility and the government exercising their discretion.  The law does not permit waivers for all immigration violations.

If you want to apply for permanent resident status, you should speak with an experienced “green card” attorney to determine whether there are any potential pitfalls in your case.  Hiring an experienced residency lawyer to represent you at the beginning of the process will give you the confidence of knowing that you have properly complied with the laws and regulations.  The Hammond Law Group has obtained permanent residency for thousands of foreign nationals based on family ties, employment, asylum, relief from removal and VAWA.  To speak with an experienced Cleveland immigration lawyery, please call 216-970-7102 today.

What is Permanent Resident Status in the United States?

Permanent resident status means the foreign national permanently lives in the United States.  The laws permit for a certain amount of international travel (up to six months at a time) without causing issue.  However, trips outside the U.S. for six months to a year do cause new legal ramifications upon return.  INA § 101(a)(13)(C).  They also cause issues with naturalization (or getting citizenship) as those laws require a certain amount of physical presence in the U.S. and continuous residence in the U.S.  If traveling outside of the country for an extended period, a permanent resident (or “green card” holder) may want to file for a reentry permit.

The government issues green cards with two different expiration dates.  If the government issues a green card with an expiration date two years later, this means the person is a conditional permanent resident.  A conditional permanent resident must file to remove their conditions within the ninety days leading up to the expiration of the card.  The form is the I-751 and our immigration and residency lawyers routinely handle these cases.  If the government issues a ten-year green card, the person must simply renew their card before it expires.  Failure to renew the ten-year green card does not cause a loss of permanent resident status like failure to file to remove the conditions does.

To speak with an experienced permanent residency attorney at the Hammond Law Group, please call 216-970-7102 today.