Connecticut Green Card Lawyer
Need to Apply for a Green Card? Call an Immigration Attorney.
After months—or years—of consideration, you may be interested in finally establishing your permanent residency in the United States. Because establishing permanent residency will be among one of the most important decisions that you make in your life, it will be crucial to seek effective legal representation from an experienced immigration attorney in Connecticut.
At the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, we have handled numerous cases involving applications for citizenship and naturalization in the United States. Our entire legal team has been committed to protecting the rights of undocumented immigrants throughout Norwalk and Waterbury.
Call the Law Offices of James A. Welcome at (203) 753-7300 or contact us online to schedule a case evaluation. ¡Se habla español! Nós falamos Português! Services also available in Mandarin and Cantonese.
Why Choose Us
- Our law office is equipped to handle even the most complicated immigration cases. We have the personnel, resources and expertise to lead you through the process of getting a green card.
- We will stand by your side every step of the way, offering personalized advice and tailored services specifically for your needs. You won’t ever be in the dark about your case.
- Our attorneys have a history of success and do everything we can to achieve the best possible outcome. We won’t take your case unless we believe we can help.
Do You Need to Hire a Connecticut Green Card Lawyer?
Legally, you do not need an immigration lawyer to apply for a green card. However, hiring one can come with important benefits and advantages. An immigration lawyer will know exactly what to expect from the green card process, as well as how to make it faster and easier for your family. Your lawyer can take over complicated paperwork on your behalf, for example, and answer all of your legal questions.
Hiring a lawyer can also save you from the possible stress and headache of making a mistake on your green card or immigrant visa application. Even a simple mistake could set the process back by several months. In the most serious cases, a mistake on your application could lead to green card denial or even deportation. A lawyer can take over the legal process, communicate with immigration authorities on your behalf and maximize your odds of obtaining a green card.
What Is a Green Card?
A Permanent Resident Card, more commonly known as a green card, is a legal document that allows an immigrant to permanently live and work in the United States. A person with a green card can stay in the U.S. indefinitely. Obtaining a green card is not the same as U.S. citizenship. A green card makes the holder a lawful permanent resident (LPR).
With a green card, you cannot be deported from the United States based on the grounds of deportability. However, if you committed fraud when applying for U.S. citizenship, the government can revoke your citizenship. With a green card, on the other hand, you can be deported for certain crimes and other grounds. You also will not qualify for a U.S. passport with a green card, but you will with U.S. citizenship. Finally, you cannot vote with a green card, but you can with citizenship.
Becoming an LPR is often the first step toward immigrating to the U.S. Unless you were born in the U.S., born overseas to a U.S. citizen parent or living in the U.S. as a minor when a parent naturalized, you must receive a green card and then apply for residence. After obtaining a green card, you will most likely have to wait about five years before applying to become a U.S. citizen. This process is called naturalization.
Green Card Requirements
Though there are many ways to become a permanent resident of the United States, obtaining a green card is one of the most common options. Before being granted a green card, you must fulfill several eligibility requirements.
Green card eligibility requirements can include the following:
- Have a qualifying immigrant petition filed and approved
- Have immediate family members, such as a spouse or parent, who are U.S. citizens
- Have an employer who can prove your exceptional ability, and that there is a shortage of U.S. workers to fill the position you would be taking
- Have an immigrant visa readily available
- Have refugee or asylum status
- Be admissible in the U.S.
If you are not sure whether you are eligible for a green card, talk to a Connecticut green card attorney. An immigration lawyer can review your specific case and let you know if you qualify. Then, your lawyer can help you with the application process.
How to Obtain a Green Card
Depending on your particular situation, you can obtain a green card through family, through an employer, through asylum, or through the green card lottery. Once you have been granted a green card, you will have the authorization to legally live and work in the U.S. permanently. As proof of your legal status, you will be granted a permanent resident card, commonly known as a “green card.”
Applying for a Green Card
The first step in applying for a green card is to determine which immigrant category you are applying under. You can apply through your employment, for example, or through your family. Then, you will fill out the correct forms. Most applicants must submit an immigrant petition and green card application (Form I-485). The forms may change, however, depending on your immigrant category. You cannot submit the petition yourself; someone must file a petition for you as your “sponsor.”
There are two main processes for obtaining a green card: adjustment of status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or consular processing with the U.S. Department of State. The first is appropriate if you are located within the U.S., while the second is what you would use if you are outside of the U.S. To file with the USCIS, you will fill out and submit Form I-485. If you don’t have an approved immigrant petition yet, you can file this at the same time as Form I-485.
If you are outside of the United States, you will file a visa application with the U.S. Department of State. Your application will remain there until a visa number becomes available. Upon filing the correct documents, you will have to attend a biometrics appointment, where you will get your photo taken and give your fingerprints and signature. You will also have to attend an interview. Then, you will receive a decision on your green card application once it has been processed.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Green Card?
The answer to this question varies considerably depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. In most cases, obtaining a green card takes about three years from start to finish. Two years of this is waiting for a green card to become available. It may take more than three years to obtain a green card, however, depending on factors such as the immigrant’s home country and whether there are any issues with the petition.
What Rights Do Green Card Holders Have?
As a green card holder in the United States, you gain certain rights and benefits. Before you get your U.S. citizenship, however, there are still certain rights you don’t have. Some of the things you can do after you get your green card include:
- Get a Social Security number.
- Qualify for federal government benefits, such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, low-income assistance and Medicare benefits.
- Apply for visas for your spouse and any unmarried children so that they can also live in the U.S.
- Serve in certain branches of the U.S. military.
- Travel outside of the U.S. on trips that don’t last longer than one year.
- Own or rent property in the United States.
- Obtain a driver’s license.
- Attend public schools and colleges.
- Open a bank account.
Apply for a Green Card with an Immigration Lawyer
We proudly work on behalf of individuals who wish to obtain citizenship in the United States, many of whom have difficulty navigating the complicated process of applying for a green card. When citizenship in the United States is your ultimate goal, we strive to do everything in our ethical and professional powers to help you obtain that goal. With a Waterbury immigration lawyer from our firm, obtaining your American Dream can be easier and smoother than you think!
We proudly represent English, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, & Cantonese speakers throughout Connecticut, including Danbury, Norwalk, and Waterbury.
When you need legal assistance, we are only a phone call away: (203) 753-7300. Contact the Law Offices of James A. Welcome today!