When you’re ready to apply for lawful permanent residence in the United States, you may benefit from working with a green card lawyer in Dallas or Houston. Your attorney can walk you through the entire process – even very early on, such as choosing which visa you can use to eventually apply for citizenship.
Your lawyer will be there to answer your questions every step of the way, as well as to ensure that all your paperwork is filed at the right location at the right time.
Applying for a Green Card With a Lawyer’s Help
A green card – the unofficial name for the document that grants you lawful permanent residency in the United States – is your ticket to working and living anywhere you want in the U.S. It’s also the final stop on your path to U.S. citizenship, should you decide to apply for it later.
You can only apply for a green card if you meet certain criteria; you can’t simply call the embassy or consulate nearest your current home and ask the U.S. government to grant you residency. You must qualify through:
- Familial relationships
- Your status as a special immigrant
- Your status as a refugee or asylee
- Your status as a human trafficking victim, crime victim or victim of abuse
- Eligibility through another avenue
Your green card lawyer will first have to determine that you’re eligible in one of these ways before you can petition the U.S. government for lawful permanent residency.
What Your Green Card Lawyer Will Tell You About Family Relationships
Not all relationships qualify you to apply for residency in the U.S. The table below outlines eligibility categories. If you fall into a family category on the left, you must meet the conditions on the right to qualify for lawful permanent residency – and you have to meet the conditions in order for your green card lawyer to fill out and file your paperwork with the U.S. government.
|Immediate relative of a U.S. citizen||You must be the spouse, an unmarried child under the age of 21, or the parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old|
|Other relative of a U.S. citizen||You must be the unmarried child of a U.S. citizen and you must be 21 years old or older, or you must be a married child of a U.S. citizen, or you must be the brother or sister of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old|
|Relative of a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.||You must be the spouse of a lawful permanent resident, or you must be the unmarried child of a lawful permanent resident and be under the age of 21, or you must be the unmarried son or daughter of a lawful permanent resident who is over the age of 21|
|Fiancé of a U.S. citizen (or the child of a U.S. citizen’s fiancé)||You must be admitted to the U.S. as a fiancé as a K-1 nonimmigrant or the child of a fiancé as a K-2 nonimmigrant|
|Widow or widower of a U.S. citizen||You must have been married to your U.S. citizen spouse at the time he or she passed away|
|VAWA self-petitioner (the victim of battery or extreme cruelty)||You must be the abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, an abused child who is unmarried and under 21 years old, or an abused parent of a U.S. citizen|
What Will Your Green Card Lawyer Do if You’re Eligible to Apply?
Your green card lawyer can be a significant help during the application process. He or she will fill out and file your paperwork for you, as well as ensure that you have all the supporting documentation you need and that you’re prepared for your interview.
Supporting Documentation for a Green Card Application
You may need a significant amount of supporting documentation for your green card application. Your attorney can let you know exactly what you need in your case, but you’ll generally have to provide:
- Two passport-style photos of yourself
- A copy of your government-issued identity document with a photograph
- A copy of your birth certificate
- Inspection and admission
- Documentation of your immigrant category
- Form I-864, Affidavit of Support (which isn’t required in all cases)
- Certified police and court records of all your criminal charges, arrests or convictions in the past
- Several government forms, including Form I-601, I-212, I-612, I-508, I-566 and I-485 Supplement A, if necessary
- Proof that you have continuously maintained a lawful status since you arrived in the United States
- Copy of documentation that proves your relationship to the principal applicant (such as a marriage certificate, birth certificate or adoption decree)
- Evidence that you have successfully terminated a previous marriage
- Documentation from your employer that proves your eligibility to apply
Preparing for Your Green Card Interview With an Immigration Lawyer’s Help
Most people must attend a green card interview. Your attorney can help you prepare for yours by telling you what to expect and the types of questions the interviewer may choose to ask you. Your interview will depend on what category you fall into, and it may be very simple, or it could be complex. Generally, you’ll be asked to verify things that you included in your application, such as whether you’ve ever committed a crime, been arrested, or been married before. You may also be asked if anything in your life has changed since you submitted your application, such as your address, your job or your marital status. (It’s okay if it has – you’ll just need to bring documentation that proves what types of changes have occurred.)
If you’re going through a marriage green card interview, you’ll most likely be asked questions that prove you’re in a bona fide (genuine) relationship with your spouse. Sometimes the interviewer will separate you and your spouse to ask you both questions; that’s called a Stokes interview, and immigration officials often use this tactic when they’re not sure that you and your spouse are engaged in a genuine relationship with each other. During a marriage green card interview, your interviewer may ask you questions such as:
- When and where did you and your spouse meet?
- How often do you dine out together?
- How is your home set up?
- What does your spouse eat for lunch?
- What do you do as a routine before you go to bed?
- What’s your spouse’s cell phone carrier?
These questions are designed to show the interviewer that you and your spouse are really living together and are in a real relationship – and that you’re not simply married for one of you to gain immigration benefits.
A Word on the Complexity of the U.S. Immigration System
The procedure for obtaining a green card in the USA is anything but easy and stress-free. With a green card lawyer in your corner, you are sure to find the process a lot easier to navigate. However, is a green card lawyer actually necessary?
The United States immigration system is a complicated system to navigate your way through. The immigration legislations created are infamously hard to recognize but there are several attorneys that exclusively concentrate on immigration regulation.
You might assume that your circumstance is a typical one and the procedure might not be all that complex. Due to the fact that the regulations have been written to safeguard and also profit both the candidates as well as the USA, they could be really intricate. There seldom exists an instance that is simple and also conveniently approvable. With merely one previous visa overstay, criminal sentence, significant health issue and even a job loss, an individual could be regarded “inadmissible”, therefore needing extra work to persuade the authorities to authorize the application. An immigration lawyer specializing in green cards could help you resolve these tight spots.
An experienced green card lawyer will hold unique means to reach out to a person within the immigration division when something like this goes incorrectly. Without a lawyer to represent you, you might squander plenty of hours taking a trip to your neighborhood immigration office simply to be informed that your situation is “pending”.
For those people that usually want to do things themselves, they might be whistling a different tune after a couple of hours of finishing immigration forms. While employing a lawyer does not let you off the hook regarding understanding the procedure, it definitely could help make the procedure run even more efficiently and also soothe a lot of your frustrations along the road.
If employing a lawyer is definitely not in your budget plan, you could make use of various other sources such as short articles or publications. You will certainly wish to remember, nonetheless, that the risks are very high. Some blunders on an immigration application could not just cause a refuted application, but also might cause the candidate to be inadmissible for a number of years.
When you or a family member are needing to navigate the murky waters of obtaining a green card, be certain to work with a lawyer that you could rely on. At Davis & Associates, our lawyers are exceptionally fluent in immigration regulation and are prepared to be your navigator.
Do You Need to Talk to Someone About the Significance of a Green Card Lawyer in Your Case?
Many green card cases can quickly become complicated, particularly because U.S. immigration law is always evolving. If you need to speak with an attorney about applying for a green card, whether it’s because you’re married to a U.S. citizen or you’re currently living and working in the United States, we may be able to help you. Call our office to schedule a consultation with a green card lawyer today so we can answer your questions and get you started on the right path.
About Davis & Associates:
Davis & Associates is the immigration law firm of choice in Houston & North Texas including Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney and surrounding areas. Their attorneys provide expert legal counsel for all aspects of immigration law, including deportation defense, writs of habeas corpus and mandamus, family-sponsored immigration, employment-sponsored immigration, investment immigration, employer compliance, temporary visas for work and college, permanent residence, naturalization, consular visa processing, waivers, and appeals. Attorney Garry L. Davis is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Dallas Contact Info:
Address: 17750 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75252
Houston Contact Info: Address: 6220 Westpark Dr, Suite 110, Houston, TX 77057
Phone: (832) 742-0066