Family Immigration Lawyers
Our firm guides individuals and families toward permanent residency in the United States. We will help you understand your options for obtaining a green card and ensure that you have all the proper documentation.
Permanent Residency through Family Immigration
A green card is the official document used to prove you are a lawful permanent resident in the United States. Permanent Residency allows an individual to live and work in the United States indefinitely. If you obtain a green card, it may be valid for ten years and may be renewable thereafter if you fulfill all the requirements.
There are several different ways of obtaining a green card. Each method involves various factors and complications, so it is important that you work with one of our knowledgeable attorneys to find out which method best suits your specific case.
Depending on your eligibility, green cards fall under one of the following categories:
- Family Based
- Employment Based
- Special Classes of Immigrants
- Humanitarian Programs
Family members are either classified as immediate relatives or preference relatives. Immediate relatives include spouses of US Citizens, unmarried children of US Citizens under the age of 21, and parents of US Citizen children over the age of 21. Immediate relative visas are not controlled by annual quotas and are immediately available.
Under our current law, visas are also available for “non-immediate” family members. These visa types are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen, but there are also some available for specific family relationships of permanent residents. It is important to note that there are numerical limitations on these types of visas and it can often take many years before the visa becomes available.
To see which visa category is best for you and your family members, contact one of our attorneys today to schedule your consultation. Contact us today!
An I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence is used to remove the conditions placed on your green card. If you are married to a United States Citizen for less than 2 years on the day you receive your green card, then the green card that you receive is issued on a “conditional” base. In order to make your green card a permanent green card you must remove the conditions placed upon it.
When should the I-751 be filed?
To avoid complications, the I-751 should be filed 90 days or less before the conditional residence expires. Once the application is received by USCIS, permanent residence is extended in 1-year increments until a decision has been made on the request.
What does being a “conditional permanent resident” mean?
As a conditional permanent resident, you have the same rights and responsibilities as a permanent resident without conditions. The “conditional” part of your status refers to the fact that at the end of two years as a green card holder, you are required to file an application to remove the conditions on your residency so that you can become a permanent green card holder. The I-751 is one of the requirements for permanent residency in the USA.
Why does USCIS issue two-year green cards for some spouses of U.S. citizens or permanent residents?
USCIS is suspicious of relatively new marriages when people use them as the basis for obtaining permanent resident status. As a way of double checking the validity of these new marriages, U.S. immigration law requires individuals to prove at the end of the two-year green card’s validity that they are still married, and that the marriage is legitimate.
What happens if I am no longer married to my Spouse/Petitioner?
Sometimes, things just don’t work out. When this situation arises, it is important to understand the circumstances of the separation and/or divorce. If you divorce your spouse before the two years on your conditional residence have passed and you want to continue to live in the United States, you still must submit Form I-751, but you will need to request a “waiver” of the joint filing requirement. These waivers are based on:
- divorce after a good-faith marriage
- abuse or battery by your US citizen or Permanent Resident spouse in a good-faith marriage
- extreme hardship to you, the immigrant, if you are returned to your country of origin.
If you have questions about how to apply for permanent residency by removing the conditions on your green card, or if you have questions about what evidence you might need to submit, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss the application process. Contact us today!