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Massachusetts Green Card Attorneys

U.S. immigration law allows foreign nationals who meet certain qualifications to apply for lawful permanent residency in the United States. Individuals who have lawful permanent residency may continue to lawfully live and work in the United States for as long as they like, including for the rest of their lives, so long as they don’t break the law or any other conditions of lawful permanent residency.

If you or a loved one wants to apply for lawful permanent residency in the United States, don’t try to navigate the complicated immigration system on your own. Contact the Massachusetts green card lawyers of Brooks Law today to schedule a consultation. Our legal team is ready to discuss the circumstances of your situation, explain your options, and walk you through the process of applying for a green card.

What Is a Green Card?

The term “green card” refers to the identification document issued to foreign nationals who have obtained lawful permanent residency in the U.S. An individual who has lawful permanent residency is authorized to live and work in the United States for as long as he or she likes, including for the rest of his or her life, provided the individual maintains residency requirements in the U.S. and does not violate certain laws.

How to Apply for a Green Card

If you believe you may be eligible for lawful permanent residency, you can apply for a green card by filling out Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

If you are applying as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you will need to submit supporting documentation along with your application:

  • Two passport-style photographs
  • A copy of your government-issued photograph ID
  • A copy of your birth certificate, or if you do not have one, other evidence of your birth, or proof of the unavailability or non-existence of birth records
  • Inspection/admission or inspection/parole documentation
  • Documentation of your immigrant category
  • A Form I-864 Affidavit of Support
  • Your criminal records, if any
  • Forms I-601, I-212, I-508, I-566, or I-485 Supplement A, if applicable
  • Proof you have maintained lawful status since arriving in the U.S.

If you are applying for employment-based lawful permanent resident status, supporting documentation you must provide includes:

  • Two passport-style photographs
  • A copy of your government-issued photograph ID
  • A copy of your birth certificate, or if you do not have one, other evidence of your birth, or proof of the unavailability or non-existence of birth records
  • Inspection/admission or inspection/parole documentation
  • Documentation of your immigrant category
  • Evidence that you maintained lawful status since arriving in the U.S.
  • Confirmation of job offer
  • A signed statement confirming you intend to work in your specified occupational field if you have self-petitioned
  • Forms I-601, I-212, I-508, I-566, or I-485 Supplement A, if applicable

Clearly, there is a lot of paperwork and specific documentation that goes into applying for a green card. Having a knowledgeable green card attorney on your side can ensure your application is complete and you are not making any mistakes that could hold up the process.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Green Card?

The Department of Homeland Security does not require you to hire an immigration attorney to apply for a green card. However, having an attorney on your side can make the application process significantly easier on you and save you from delays that could be caused by mistakes. If your application is missing information or if you fail to submit supporting documentation with your application, for example, you run the risk of having your application delayed or even denied outright. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you with your green card application by:

  • Helping you to obtain all necessary supporting documentation
  • Ensuring that all required information and documentation is submitted along with your application
  • Securing additional information or documentation if your application approval is delayed
  • Filing an appeal and advocating on your behalf if your application is denied

Types of Green Cards

A foreign national can obtain a green card through one of three methods:

The first method is called adjustment of status, or AOS. AOS is used when a foreign national is already located in the U.S. on a valid temporary visa, such as a student visa, work visa, or visitor visa. Once the individual arrives in the U.S., he or she petitions to have his or her status adjusted to lawful permanent residency.

The second method for obtaining a green card involves having a family member who is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident petition to have you come to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. You would typically apply for a visa to allow for entry into the United States, with your lawful permanent residency becoming active upon the effective date of your visa. Although immediate relatives of U.S. citizens do not have to wait for entry into the U.S. or lawful permanent residency, all other foreign nationals are subject to annual numerical caps. Typically, most people must wait to be granted lawful permanent residency. The amount of time you must wait will depend on your country of origin and the preference category of the visa you apply for.

Finally, you may obtain lawful permanent residency through employment. Employment-based lawful permanent residency is divided into five separate preference categories, each of which is limited to no more than 140,000 individuals per year. In addition, each country may have its nationals make up no more than 7 percent of all individuals granted employment-based lawful permanent residency that year. The preference categories include:

  • Multinational managers, preeminent researchers, and other persons of extraordinary ability.
  • Individuals possessing a degree equivalent to a master’s degree or higher, or a bachelor’s degree in addition to five years of job experience. The Department of Labor must also certify that the domestic labor market has been adequately tested and no U.S. workers were able, available, qualified, and/or willing to take an open position.
  • Professionals possessing a degree and at least two years of work experience, or skilled workers for open job positions requiring less than two years’ work experience. The Department of Labor must again certify that the labor market has been adequately tested and that no U.S. workers were able, available, qualified, and/or willing to take the open position.
  • Special workers, such as certain religious workers.
  • Foreign nationals who have invested at least $1 million in a U.S. business and hired at least 10 full-time U.S. workers. For businesses based in certain areas of the country, the investment requirement may be lowered to $500,000.

Talk to a Massachusetts Green Card Lawyer Now

If you are trying to apply for lawful permanent residency and have questions about your eligibility or about the process for applying for a green card, contact the Massachusetts green card attorneys at Brooks Law today. Let us help you navigate the complex green card application process and give you peace of mind knowing that your application is being handled by an experienced legal professional.

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