Permanent Residency and Citizenship
Becoming a U.S. citizen is one of the most complicated—and joyful—decisions an immigrant can make. Fortunately, U.S. immigration law offers several ways to become a permanent resident and obtain citizenship.
Those who have a green card—also known as a Permanent Resident Card—can live and work permanently in the U.S. Immigrants can obtain a green card through the Green Card Lottery or alternative application processes.
The green card serves as proof that the immigrant is eligible to live and work in the country.
A lawful permanent resident who meets specific requirements established by federal law is granted U.S. citizenship through “naturalization.” In order to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization, an individual must:
- Be 18 years of age or older at the time of filing the application;
- Have had a green card for five years or longer (or three years if the applicant is the spouse of a U.S. citizen);
- Have continuous physical presence and residence in the country;
- Have the ability to read, write, and speak English; and
- Meet other requirements outlined on the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Individuals outside the U.S. can apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate in their home country. The process of applying for a visa in your home country is known as “consular processing.” The process differs from adjustment of status because the applicant must be inside the U.S. when adjusting their status. Consular processing is often used to petition for family visas.
Thousands of people around the globe dream of uniting with their families in the U.S. However, becoming a permanent lawful resident based on specific family relations is not easy. Petitioning for a family-based immigrant visa is a complex process that may involve many frustrations.
U.S. citizens can petition for a family visa for their spouse, child, parent, or sibling. Lawful permanent residents, on the other hand, can only petition for their spouse and unmarried child.
Immediate Relative vs. Family Preference
Immigration law recognizes two types of family-based visas for immigrants:
- Immediate relative. With this type of visa, you are petitioning for a close family member (spouse, child, or parent). Immediate relatives always have immigrant visas available to them as there are no numerical limits each fiscal year.
- Family preference. The number of immigrants in this category, which involves more distant family members, is subject to limits each fiscal year.
How Military Law Group Can Help
Immigration law is incredibly complex. If you want to understand the different immigration processes and procedures for yourself or your family member, consider hiring an experienced attorney. Having an immigration law attorney on your side can save you a lot of time and effort.
At Military Law Group, I assist U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, immigrants, and their families with various immigration matters. I guide people through various immigration proceedings. After serving in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Enterprise, I understand the importance of clear communication and a dedication to collaboration.
I can help you better understand your immigration situation and how to achieve your goals whether you:
- Are uncertain about your eligibility for a green card or other immigration benefits
- Need help with petitioning for a green card, citizenship, or other immigration benefits
- Have other questions and concerns about your case
Whatever your immigration needs, I am prepared to help you navigate the immigration process. I understand that immigration processes and procedures can be quite time-consuming and confusing for you and your loved ones. That is why I take a comprehensive and personalized approach when handling immigration cases for my clients.