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Someone who is a green card holder is a person who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. To show proof of that authorization, a person is given a permanent resident card, also known as a “Green Card.” This cad gives you permission to live and work in the United States for the rest of your life, as long as you do not do anything to disrupt that eligibility. Most people with a green card are sponsored by a family member or employer in the USA, with others becoming permanent residents through refugee status or other similar humanitarian programs. You can lose green card status if you abandon residence by staying too long outside of the United States, or if you do anything which would make you eligible for deportation. There are several different categories for employment based green cards, which are awarded to a maximum of 140,000 applicants each year. EB-1 priority workers apply to those of outstanding or extraordinary ability, professors, or types of managers. Few people qualify for this status, with the applications being strictly scrutinized.
EB-2 green cards are for professional workers with advanced degrees, persons of exceptional ability, or some doctors. This type of green card also faces careful scrutiny of job requirements, but can be quicker to obtain if the requirements are met than for unskilled jobs. EB-3 green cards relate to professional workers who do not have advanced degrees, as well as so-called unskilled workers. There are also special categories for those who are religious workers, government workers, or those who are able to invest money to create new jobs in the United States.
As part of obtaining a green card for permanent residence through employment, a foreign worker must go through the PERM (labor certification) process. As part of this process, employers must submit PERM applications to the Department of Labor to show that have attempted to recruit U.S. workers but have not been successful. This process precludes filing an immigration request on behalf of the foreign worker with U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Schedule A green cards relate to those where the U.S. Department of Labor has determined that there is a shortage of US workers who are able, qualified, and available to meet the needs of a certain occupation. In this case, the foreign worker can obtain a green card without having to go through the full labor certification process, making things go more quickly. To date, the two occupations that are listed in Schedule A are professional nurses and physical therapists.
A lawful permanent resident may sponsor a relative or spouse for a green card. As part of the requirement, the permanent resident of the United States will have to prove that they have the income or assets available to support the incoming immigrant in the United States.
With new laws in the United States legalizing same-sex marriage, it is now possible to file a petition to sponsor a spouse of the same sex for a family-based immigration visa. According to the USCIS, a spouse’s eligibility for visa status will be determined based on applicable immigration law, and will not be denied as a result of the same-sex nature of marriage.
Finally, as part of an application for a U.S. visa or green card, the officials reviewing the application will make sure that you are not “inadmissible” to the United States. If you are found to be inadmissible, you would be denied green card status unless you are able to apply for a waiver to successful get legal forgiveness. Different inadmissibility factors are outlined in Section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. These includes several crimes, communicable diseases, past immigration, or the likelihood that you will need government assistance. Note that the crimes do not necessarily require an actual conviction, and include things such as illegal substance offenses, aggravated felonies, or money laundering.
At the Law Offices of James S. Hong and Associates, we handle simple to highly complex immigration matters including green cards. We also provide translation services of any and all immigration related documents in any language including documents such as birth, death and marriage certificates, divorce decrees, etc.
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