Louisiana Immigration Law Firm

Who Can Apply for a Green Card?

Anyone who is trying to obtain citizenship or otherwise live permanently in the U.S. will need a green card. “Green card” is the common, informal name for a United States Permanent Resident Card, which is a form of identification that confirms the holder is a lawful permanent resident.

There are a variety of ways to qualify for a green card, although all can be complex and time-consuming processes. In many cases, you must already have a visa available to even apply for a green card. If you’re interested in becoming a lawful permanent resident of the United States, call our Lake Charles immigration attorney today for experienced guidance.

Family Based Green Cards

If you are an immediate relative of a United States citizen, you will not have to wait for a visa to apply for a green card. This will only apply for parents of the citizen, spouses, and unmarried children under 21 years of age.

Other relatives of U.S. citizens can still qualify for a green card, but may be required to wait for a visa first. This includes:

  • Unmarried children who are over 21 years of age
  • Married children, their spouses, and their children
  • Siblings, their spouses, and their children

If you are a relative of a permanent resident, you will generally need to wait for a visa to apply for permanent residency yourself.

Job Based Green Cards

When applying for permanent residency based on employment, your employer will generally need to apply for the appropriate immigrant visa first. However, your employer may be able to help you file for both at the same time, called a “concurrent filing.” These visas are issued in order of preference, based on the job that you plan to take in the U.S. For example, highly-regarded professors or skilled doctors may be at the top of the priority list, while entrepreneurs and religiousworkers are toward the bottom of the list.

Refugee/Asylum Based Green Cards

The United States has a number of specialty visa programs for certain refugees. If you’ve qualified for one of these visas, and subsequently were admitted to the U.S., you are actually required to apply for a green card after one year of residency. For those who have received asylum, you have the option to apply after one year as well, but it is not mandatory.

Other Green Card Options

There are a number of other ways to get a green card, depending on the unique circumstances of your case. For more information about applying for permanent residency, or for guidance and legal counsel throughout the process, call our Lake Charles immigration lawyer today at (337) 214-0670.

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