North Carolina Permanent Residency Attorneys
Helping Individuals & Families Secure Green Cards
Obtaining legal permanent residency, or a green card, is a crucial step on the path to becoming a United States citizen. Green card holders are authorized to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis, and they are also eligible for several other benefits. At Brown Immigration Law, our North Carolina green card lawyers understand the challenges that individuals and families face when they are trying to obtain green cards, and we are here to help.
What is Legal Permanent Residency?
Legal Permanent Residency (LPR), commonly known as a green card, is an immigration status in the United States that allows foreign nationals to live and work permanently in the country.
LPR status is granted to individuals who are authorized to reside permanently in the United States. It is not a temporary status like a work or student visa; rather, it provides long-term, indefinite permission to live and work in the U.S.
Green card holders enjoy many of the rights and privileges of U.S. citizens, including the ability to work for any employer, own property, and travel in and out of the country. They are also protected by U.S. laws and have access to social benefits.
While permanent residency is not citizenship, it is a significant step towards it. Green card holders can apply for U.S. citizenship after meeting certain eligibility requirements, such as residing in the U.S. for a specific period.
Green Cards are typically issued with a 10-year validity. Before expiration, green card holders must renew their cards to maintain their LPR status. In some cases, conditional green cards are issued, requiring additional steps to remove conditions, such as joint filing of Form I-751.
Green card holders are expected to maintain their primary residence in the U.S. and may face consequences, including potential loss of LPR status, if they abandon their U.S. residence.
How to Apply for Permanent Residency
To apply for legal permanent residency in the United States, also known as a green card, there are several pathways available. The most common ways include family-sponsored immigration, employment-based immigration, refugee/asylee status adjustment, and the Diversity Visa Program.
Here is a general overview of the process:
- Determine Your Eligibility:
- Family-sponsored: If you have close relatives who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, they may be able to sponsor you.
- Employment-based: If you have a job offer or specific employment qualifications, you may be eligible for employment-based immigration.
- Refugee/Asylee: If you were granted refugee or asylee status, you may be eligible to apply for a green card.
- File the Immigrant Petition: For family-sponsored immigration, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident family member needs to file an immigrant petition on behalf of the foreign national. For employment-based immigration, the employer usually files the petition.
- Wait for Visa Availability: Due to annual limits on the number of immigrant visas, you may need to wait until a visa becomes available. This is especially relevant for family-sponsored and employment-based categories.
- File Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status: Once a visa becomes available, you can file Form I-485 to adjust your status to that of a legal permanent resident if you are already in the U.S.
- Consular Processing (If Outside the U.S.): If you are outside the U.S., you will need to go through consular processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate after the immigrant petition is approved.
- Biometrics Appointment and Interview: USCIS will schedule a biometrics appointment for fingerprinting, and you may be called for an interview to determine your eligibility.
- Receive a Decision: USCIS will decide on your application. If approved, you will receive your green card.
How Our North Carolina Permanent Residency Attorneys Can Help
At Brown Immigration Law, our North Carolina permanent residency lawyers are committed to helping individuals and families obtain permanent residence as quickly as possible. We understand the challenges that individuals and families face when they are trying to obtain green cards, and we are here to help.
Our team will work with you to develop a plan that will help you obtain permanent residence as quickly as possible, and we will guide you through each step of the application process. We will also make sure that your rights are protected and that you are treated fairly by the USCIS. If you are in danger of being deported, our North Carolina permanent residence lawyers can help you understand your options and develop a plan to help you stay in the United States.