How a Lawyer Can Help With The Green Card Process
Obtaining a green card to live or work in the United States is a major decision many families face. However, many of those seeking a green card are aware of the incredibly complicated rules and procedures that must be followed to successfully obtain one. Because this process can be so overwhelming and can sometimes result in delays or mistakes with disastrous outcomes, it’s important to know the ways a lawyer can help with the green card process.
The Role of a Lawyer in the Green Card Process
A green card is an unofficial name for the document that grants immigrants and immigrant families lawful permanent residency in the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives up to six million green card applications each year. In 2019, foreign-born residents accounted for 13.7% of the total U.S. population. While it’s not required to obtain legal counsel when applying for an immigrant visa or green card in the U.S., numerous situations can arise where a lawyer’s help can be incredibly valuable to families. This is especially important to consider as complications that could arise during the green card process can make obtaining residence in the U.S. incredibly difficult.
Immigration law in itself is notoriously complex. Some of the most common ways legal counsel can aid families with the green card process include:
Ensure The Applicant(s) Meet the Proper Criteria
Those seeking a green card in the U.S. can only apply for one if they meet certain criteria. It may sound like it’s easy to simply contact the nearest government office and ask them to grant residency, however it’s just not that simple. To properly obtain a green card, an experienced immigration lawyer can help applicants determine if they qualify for one through:
- Familial relationships
- The applicant’s status as a special immigrant
- The applicant’s status as a refugee or asylum seeker
- The applicant’s status as a human trafficking victim, crime victim, or victim of abuse
- Eligibility through another avenue
Your immigration lawyer must first determine whether the person or family seeking a green card is eligible in one or more of these ways before they can petition for lawful permanent residency.
Determine If a Familial Relationship Qualifies the Applicant for Residency
Not every type of relationship automatically qualifies someone to apply for residency in the U.S. Families must first meet certain conditions to qualify. These conditions must be met before a lawyer obtains and files a person’s or a family’s immigration paperwork. For example, if someone is an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, that relative must be their spouse or an unmarried child under 21 years old, or the applicant must be the parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old.
Collect Supporting Documentation
Once it is determined those seeking a green card are indeed eligible to apply for one, a lawyer can help with the green card process. They can aid in filing the proper paperwork and help to ensure applicants have all of the necessary supporting documentation. Some of the general documentation that must be provided includes:
- Two passport-style photos of the applicant(s)
- A copy of a government-issued identity document with a photograph
- A copy of a birth certificate
- Documentation of immigrant category
- Certified police and court records of all potential criminal charges, arrests, or convictions in the past
- Government forms, including Form I-601, I-212, I-612, I-508, I-566, and I-485 Supplement A, if necessary
- Proof of maintaining a lawful status since arriving in the U.S.
- Copy of documentation that proves the relationship to the principal applicant (this can be a marriage certificate, birth certificate, or an adoption decree)
- Evidence of the successful termination of a previous marriage
- Documentation from an employer that proves eligibility
Prepare You for Your Interview
Most green card applicants must go through an interview process. A lawyer can help with preparation for this important meeting by discussing what it entails and the types of questions that may be asked. The interview questions can vary by applicant. Generally, however, applicants will be asked to verify the information included in the application. This can include questions concerning whether or not the applicant has ever committed a crime, been arrested, or been married before. Applicants may also be asked to discuss anything that may have changed in their life since applying, such as their current residence, job status, and/or marital status.
Amarillo Immigration Lawyers
Taking steps to go through the immigration process can be incredibly taxing on families looking to obtain residency in the U.S. The immigration attorneys of Lovell, Lovell, Isern & Farabough, LLP can help you through this complicated process. Our attorneys are also familiar with the various steps of the deportation process and know how to fight to prevent the removal of a loved one. If your family needs assistance obtaining a green card, we can help. Contact our Amarillo immigration attorneys today for more information. Our team is fluent in both Spanish and English.