When it comes to the green card process, there are many different ways to attain lawful permanent residence in the United States. Deciphering the differences between them can be difficult. This is why hiring a lawyer who is familiar with immigration law is the best way to ensure the smoothest experience possible when you or a loved one is looking to become a U.S. citizen.
This blog will focus on both the family-based green card process. It is important to note that, as long as you have a green card, you are considered a lawful, permanent resident and you have the ability to live and work in United States cities like Clearwater.
Green Cards for Immediate Relatives
Certain family relations are considered immediate relatives. There are an unlimited number of visas available for spouses of U.S. citizens, unmarried children under 21 years of age of U.S. citizens and parents of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old. If you fall in this category, an immigrant visa is immediately available once your application is approved. Backlogs do not apply.
Family-Based Green Cards
When it comes to family-based immigrant visas, keep in mind that there are only a certain number of visas available in each category to be distributed annually. There are five different preference tiers for relatives, including:
- F1 Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens over age 21
- F2A Spouses and Children of Lawful Permanent Residents
- F2B Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Lawful Permanent Residents over age 21
- F3 Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens
- F4 Brothers and Sisters of adult U.S. citizens.
Many of these tiers are severely backlogged thanks to the high volume of applications received by the USCIS each year. It is possible to have an approved application and not be allowed to live and work in the country due to the fact that there are simply no visas available. Until the backlog catches up to you, you are out of luck. However, with the help of a skilled attorney in Clearwater, you can prepare and plan for any potential backlogs and reduce their effect on you.
Conditional Green Cards
Some kinds of green cards, such as those based upon marriage to a U.S. citizen can be conditional. They are only good for two years, and then an application has to be filed to remove the conditions. Once the conditions are removed, the permanent resident may maintain this status indefinitely or take advantage of the expedited filing procedures for U.S. citizenship for spouses of U.S. citizens.
Start the Green Card Process with Julie Beth Jouben, P.A.
If you are looking for an immigration attorney in the Clearwater, Florida area, the law office of Julie Beth Jouben, P.A. can help. As a firm that focuses on family, immigration, and marital law, we know a thing or two about the green card process and how to make the acquisition of visas a less stressful experience. To learn more about our services, call us today at our office.