ARE YOU ENTITLED TO A GREEN CARD?

FAMILIES SHOULD STAY TOGETHER

green-cardMany people living in the United States migrate for a better life, and being here means making the U.S. their permanent home, having the ability to travel abroad to visit their relatives, and in many instances, file petitions to sponsor their relatives living abroad. In the interest of promoting family unity, immigration law allows U.S. citizens to petition for certain qualified relatives to come and live permanently in the United States.

At The Law Offices of Diron Rutty, our family law attorneys assist individuals in understanding the privilege of obtaining a green card. This card lets the person remain in the United States indefinitely as a legal permanent resident and allows one to file for certain family members, request their Adjustment of Status, and to obtain residency for them. Obtaining a permanent residency status is the first step in the process of becoming a citizen. The immigration attorneys at Diron Rutty, LLC will assist you in sorting through what can sometimes be a complicated process. We understand visa requirements and numerical quotas and will work with you to navigate your way through this complex process.

ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS AND PERMANENTLY RESIDING IN THE UNITED STATES

The Immigration and Nationality Act, INA, provides an individual with two primary paths to obtain permanent resident status in the United States:

i) Applying for adjustment of status is the final step in getting a Green Card. In order to file an Adjustment of Status (AOS), an alien must be physically present in the United States, with a non-immigrant visa and be able to change this status to an immigrant status (i.e. permanent resident status, without having to return to their home country).

ii) Consular Processing is an alternate process for an individual outside the United States (or who is in the United States, but is ineligible to adjust status) to obtain a visa abroad at a U.S. Consulate and enter the United States as a permanent resident.

Our office will first determine your basis to immigrate, file the Immigrant Petition and ensure that you fit in one of the family based categories, the employment based categories, Special Classes of Immigrants (widower or Battered Spouse) or if you qualify under a Humanitarian Program. We will teach you the benefits in applying for an I-485; and while an I-485 application is pending, the benefit in applying for Advance Parole, EAD Work Permit and the opportunity for you to have a legal stay in the U.S. without maintaining their non-immigrant status. We assist you in understanding if you were inspected, admitted, or paroled into the United States, and whether you meet all of the required qualifications for a green card (permanent residence).

For those who are entitled to the concurrent filing of an I-485, adjustment of status application with an I-140, immigration petition (typically, EB-1, and EB-2 petitions), we will take you through the steps necessary to obtain an adjustment — if visa numbers are available to the beneficiaries at the time of filing.

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR A FAMILY-SPONSORED GREEN CARD?

Green cards may be granted to certain family members. The visa is usually available to those immigrants who have a current citizen or permanent resident relative willing to sponsor him or her. The particular visa you need depends on the family relationship and what would be the best option for bringing the family member here. If you are married, we will discuss sponsoring the family member, or if you are engaged, we can discuss options for a K-1 visa (fiancé visa) for your fiancé.

Additionally, if you are married to an American but entered the country illegally, you may not qualify for a green card, unless you are the beneficiary of a petition or labor certification filed before April 30, 2001. Likewise, if you initially entered the United States illegally and returned to your native country voluntarily to seek a green card, you may be penalized and allowed to stay for over 10 years in many cases. We will show you the ways to avoid this penalty.

We also advise families whose entry goals are complicated by an adverse immigration action in the past – denial of entry based on criminal history, previous immigration violations, such as visa overstays, fraud or public charge issues. In some cases, we can achieve your objectives through a motion to reopen or by appealing a recent unfavorable decision. There are several methods of obtaining a green card.

If you have questions on how to obtain a green card for a spouse, fiancé, or other member of your family, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Diron Rutty, LLC  at (718) 324-0404 or (845) 849-9201.

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE THROUGH AN EMPLOYER SPONSORSHIP?

To obtain a green card based on employment, an employer in the United States must file a Form I-140 Immigration Petition for Alien Worker and pay a filing fee.

In some cases, the employer must also obtain a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor that your employment is necessary, will not adversely affect market wages and that the employer will be able to sponsor its employees for green cards. Once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approve the employer’s Form I-140, the employee may apply for an appropriate visa at a U.S. consulate.

However, labor certification is not required for any of the priority worker subgroups and our attorneys will assist you in understanding the preferential categories and the immigrant worker visas available:

EB-1 Foreign Nationals of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors and Researchers and Multinational Executives and Managers

Our attorneys will assist you in determining if you are eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa by determining if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager. Each occupational category has certain requirements that must be met for determining your eligibility.

Individuals in this category can petition for permanent residency without having to go through the time-consuming labor certification process.

EB-2 Workers with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts or Business

You may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability. Visa holders in this category normally must have a job offer and the potential employer must complete the labor certification process. Other individuals who qualify may seek a national interest waiver by requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States.  There are requirements which must be met and our attorneys will assist you in determining if you qualify.

EB-2 Workers with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts or Business

“Skilled workers” are persons whose job requires a minimum of two years training or work experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.

“Professionals” are persons whose job requires at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent and are a member of the profession.

The “other workers” subcategory is for persons performing unskilled labor requiring less than two years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.

Visa holders in this category normally must have a job offer, and the potential employer must complete the labor certification process.

EB-4 Special Immigrant Visas for Religious Workers

Ministers of religion are eligible for permanent residency.

EB-5 Investor/Employment Creation Visas

The issuance of E-B5 visas is subject to strict annual limits. Under the 1990 Immigration Act, Congress has set aside up to 10,000 visas per year for alien investors in new commercial enterprises who create employment for 10 individuals. There are two groups of investors under the program – those who invest at least $500,000 in “targeted employment areas” (rural areas or areas experiencing high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate) and those who invest $1,000,000 anywhere else. No fewer than 3,000 of the annual allotment of visas must go to targeted employment areas.

The process for obtaining a green card can differ substantially, depending on the path you are using and whether you are applying from inside or outside the United States. Rarer types of visas, such as O and P visas for international celebrities and athletes or U visas for crime victims, may entail an investigation into the identity and qualifications of the applicant. Participation in the special immigrant juvenile program may even require coordination with state courts within the United States.

OTHER VISAS AVAILABLE

Battered Spouse, Children, and Parents

There are Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provisions in the INA which allow spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens and certain spouses and children of permanent residents (Green Card holders) who can prove that they have been abused to file a petition for themselves, without the knowledge of the person committing the abuse. This allows victims to seek protection, safety, and independence from the person committing the abuse.

DV-1 Diversity Lottery Visas

The Diversity Visa Program (DV Program) consists of 50,000 immigrant visas available annually, implemented through a random selection from all entries and given to individuals from countries underrepresented in the pool of immigrants migrating to the United States.

This program is supervised by the U.S. Department of State, and the winners who reside in the United State are allowed to file their Adjustment of Status here.

Widowed Spouse and their Children

Widowed spouses of a U.S. citizen can obtain a green card if they can prove that they were legally married to the citizen and that the marriage was entered into in good faith, and not solely for the immigration benefit.

Refugee and Asylum Applications

Persons with a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion may be eligible to apply for asylum or refugee status in the U.S. after one year.

In addition to these more commonly utilized routes, there are also other less common methods of obtaining a green card that an experienced immigration and family law attorney can help you explore.

By working with our team at The Law Offices of Diron Rutty, LLC, and contacting our office at (718) 324-0404 or (845) 849-9201 you can have confidence that you are taking the right steps, meeting necessary deadlines and doing everything possible to expedite your application.