Green Card Attorneys in Chicago
What Is the Green Card Process?
If you wish to live and work on a long-term basis in the United States, you must first obtain a green card. A green card — also known as a “permanent resident card” — attests that you are a U.S. lawful permanent resident, or “LPR” for short.
Illinois is comprised of many diverse, flourishing communities whose respective ethnic and cultural heritages make it a unique place to live.
Compelling statistics from the American Immigration Council illustrate this claim:
- Greater than 14% of Illinois residents are immigrants.
- Greater than 16% of employed Illinois residents are immigrants.
- Greater than 33% of business owners in Chicagoland are immigrants.
It’s wise to consult an immigration attorney before applying for a green card. While much information is at your disposal on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, immigration law is complex and changes often.
It’s reassuring to have the guidance of a skilled Chicago green card attorney during this important process.
Having a Relative Sponsor You for a Green Card
It’s common for U.S. immigrants to become permanent residents through a family sponsor.
If you are seeking to obtain a green card, the waiting process will likely be shorter the closer your relationship is to the person sponsoring you.
Can I Sponsor a Relative to Get a Green Card?
You can sponsor a family member to obtain their green card under the following circumstances:
- You’re a green card holder.
- You’re a U.S. citizen.
As a sponsor for a family member seeking to acquire a green card, you may also be referred to as a “petitioner.”
Factors Influencing Your Green Card Eligibility
If You Already Have a Visa
If you’re the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you should already be assigned a visa number under the U.S. immigration system.
You can review specifics regarding green card eligibility and immediate family relationships on the USCIS website.
If You Do Not Yet Have a Visa
If you don’t have a visa, you’ll have to wait for a visa number to become available to you under the immigration system before beginning the green card application process.
If Your Sponsor Has a Green Card
As mentioned previously, it’s possible for you to get a green card through a family member who is a lawful permanent resident (has a green card and is not yet a U.S. citizen).
You can get a green card through such a relative if you have one of the following types of relationships with them:
- You’re married to them.
- You’re their child, and your marital status is “single.”
Other Green Card Eligibility Categories
There are other scenarios in which you may be eligible for a green card, including:
- Through a job
- If you obtain “special immigrant,” “refugee,” or “asylum” status
- If you’ve been a victim of various injustices including human trafficking, crime, and abuse
- If you’ve lived in the U.S., without interruption, since December 1971 or earlier
Green Card Application Process
The steps necessary for you to apply for a green card will vary depending on your individual circumstances, but this is a general overview of what you can expect from the process.
- Immigrant petition: You may be eligible to file it yourself. Otherwise, your sponsor will file it on your behalf.
- Green card or visa application: If certain criteria are met (namely that USCIS has approved your immigrant petition and a visa is available for you), then you can start the application process for a green card or visa. The former (green card application) will be with USCIS and the latter (visa application) will be with the U.S. Department of State.
- Biometrics appointment: Biometrics is a process in which a person’s identity is confirmed. Simply put, you’ll have photos and your fingerprints taken, and your signature will be collected.
- Interview: An interview may be held to confirm that the information you and your sponsor provided in your application is true. The interview is typically about 20 minutes long. It’s a good idea to make sure you have information such as addresses (yours and your sponsor’s) and important dates (for example, birth dates and anniversaries) memorized.
- Decision: While you await the decision on your application, you can check for updates on your case status using the USCIS website or smartphone app.
You can visit a USCIS field office to apply for your green card.
The USCIS Chicago field office is located at:
101 West Ida B. Wells Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605
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The attorneys at Ray Law International are committed to providing clients in the United States and abroad with effective, innovative immigration solutions. We find fulfillment in advocating for our clients by helping them understand the immigration process and reach their goals. We offer services in English, Spanish, and Japanese.
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