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SSD Law Firm PC

Green Card Lawyer Columbia

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Things to Know Now

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Does a Loved One Need Immigration Help in the Columbia area?

Columbia is a city with a population of approximately 2792 people. Many people in Columbia are illegal but can get their Green Cards with a little assistance. Our law firm can help with all types of Green Card cases in the Columbia area. Additionally, we can also assist you with Green Cards throughout every state in America.

What Happens During an Immigration Home Visit?

If Immigration Officers decide to do an in home inspection regarding your Green Card application, the following are your rights to keep yourself safe.

Right to Refuse Entry

Firstly, you have the right to refuse entry to immigration officers, unless they have a valid warrant signed by a judge. This warrant should specify your name and address. Ask the officers to slide the warrant under the door or show it through a window to verify its validity before allowing them inside.

Right to Remain Silent

You also have the right to remain silent. You are not obligated to answer questions or provide information without consulting with a Green Card attorney. Politely inform the officers that you choose to exercise this right and request to speak with a Green Card attorney.

Right to Legal Representation

You have the right to consult with a Green Card attorney before answering any questions. If you do not have a Green Card attorney, you can find one through local legal aid organizations or immigration advocacy groups in Columbia. A lawyer can provide guidance on how to interact with the officers and protect your rights.

Right to Privacy

Immigration officers cannot search your home without your consent unless they have a valid search warrant. If they do have a warrant, ensure it is specific to your situation and covers the areas they wish to search. If the warrant is not valid or specific, you can deny them access.

Document Everything

Document the encounter by noting the officers’ names, badge numbers, and the time and date of the visit. If possible, record the interaction, as this can be useful for legal proceedings if necessary.Understanding and asserting your rights during an immigration home investigation can help protect you and your family from potential legal complications.

Understanding Sponsorship Requirements for Green Cards

In an adjustment of status application, the sponsor plays a crucial role in supporting the applicant’s case for lawful permanent residency in the United States. The primary requirement for a sponsor is to provide a Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, which demonstrates that they have the financial means to support the applicant and prevent them from becoming a public charge.

Key Requirements for a Sponsor

  • Legal Status: The sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. This ensures that the sponsor has a stable legal presence in the United States.
  • Residency: The sponsor must be domiciled in the United States. This means they must have a principal residence in the U.S. and plan to maintain it as their permanent home.
  • Income Requirements: The sponsor must meet specific income criteria. They need to show that their household income is at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for their household size. This includes the sponsor, their dependents, and the intending immigrant. If the sponsor’s income is insufficient, they may use assets to meet the requirements or enlist a joint sponsor who can meet the income requirements independently.
  • Evidence of Income: The sponsor must provide evidence of their income and assets. This can include recent tax returns, W-2 forms, pay stubs, and employment verification letters.
  • Commitment: By signing the Affidavit of Support, the sponsor commits to financially supporting the intending immigrant until they either become a U.S. citizen or have worked 40 qualifying quarters under the Social Security Act.
  • Joint Sponsors: If the primary sponsor does not meet the income requirements, a joint sponsor can also submit a Form I-864. The joint sponsor must meet all the same requirements independently and demonstrate sufficient income or assets.

Steps to Determine Green Card Eligibility in Columbia

Qualifying for a green card in Columbia follows the same federal guidelines as the rest of the United States. The primary pathways to obtain a green card include family sponsorship, employment-based visas, asylum or refugee status, and the Diversity Visa Lottery.

  • Family Sponsorship: Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, such as spouses, children under 21, and parents, have a straightforward path to a green card. Other relatives, including siblings and married children, may also qualify but face longer waiting periods due to visa caps and limitations. Under section 245(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), two things are required for a family based green card (1) Legal Entry, and (2) Petitioner. If your entry is illegal, we can help you figure out different ways to fix your entry. There are multiple different people that can be petitioners which we will also analyze for you so that we can help you figure out the quickest way to get a green card.
  • Employment-Based Visas: Individuals with a job offer in the U.S. can qualify for a green card through employment. Categories include priority workers (EB-1), professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities (EB-2), skilled workers (EB-3), and special immigrant categories, such as religious workers (EB-4). Investors who create jobs in the U.S. (EB-5) also qualify.
  • Asylum or Refugee Status: Those granted asylum or refugee status can apply for a green card one year after being admitted to the U.S. under these protections. You can also apply for your spouse and children (under 21) after being granted Asylum status.
  • Diversity Visa Lottery: Individuals from countries with low U.S. immigration rates can apply through the Diversity Visa Lottery, which grants up to 50,000 green cards annually.

Process to Adjust Status in Columbia

In order to apply for your Green Card, you will likely be filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This is a crucial step for those seeking to obtain a green card while already in the United States. This form is used by individuals who are eligible to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident (LPR) without having to leave the country. The following list is not an exhaustive list, but includes the common forms used when filing for your Green Card.

Proof of Lawful Entry

To begin, ensure you have all necessary documents, such as your passport, I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, and proof of lawful entry into the U.S. Depending on how you entered the United States, you may have a stamp in your passport reflecting your lawful entry.

Petitioner/Sponsor

You will need evidence of your eligibility category, such as an approved Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) or Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker). You will also need form I-864 which will be filled out by your sponsor, guaranteeing your economic stability during your status as a Lawful Permanent Resident.

Work Permit Application

You can file form I-765, Authorization for Employment, with your I-485 application. It is typically free to file this form with your I-485 (at the time of this writing) so we file it every time we file form I-485. Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) usually gets approved first, along with your Social Security Card, before final determination of your Adjustment application.

Questions About Your History

The form requires detailed personal information, including your name, address, and employment history. You must also provide information about your immigration history, including any previous visa applications or immigration violations. Be prepared to answer questions regarding your criminal history and affiliations, as honesty is critical to avoid complications or denials.

Medical Examination

Part of the I-485 process involves undergoing a medical examination by a USCIS-approved doctor. The results, documented on Form I-693, must be submitted along with your I-485 application. Additionally, you must include the required filing fee or a fee waiver request, if applicable.

Biometrics and Interview

Once submitted, USCIS will process your application, which may include a biometric appointment for fingerprinting and an interview. During this period, it’s essential to monitor your case status and respond promptly to any USCIS requests for additional information.

Employment Guidelines for Green Card holders in Columbia?

Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, allows individuals to work legally in the United States while their Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) is pending. Filing Form I-765 with your I-485 is highly beneficial, as it provides a means to earn a livelihood during the often lengthy green card application process.Submitting Form I-765 concurrently with your I-485 can expedite your ability to work legally, eliminating the need to wait for your green card approval to start employment. At the time of this writing, submitting the I-765 with your I-485 can also be done for free. Additionally, an approved I-765 grants you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which serves as proof of your legal right to work in the U.S. This can be crucial for maintaining financial stability and accessing job opportunities while your green card application is processed.In Columbia, utilizing local legal resources can help ensure your I-765 and I-485 applications are correctly completed and submitted, maximizing your chances of a smooth and successful adjustment process.

What is a Green Card in Columbia?

A Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), often called a “green card” holder, is an individual who has been granted the privilege to live and work in the United States permanently. This status allows the person to reside in the U.S., seek employment, and travel internationally, albeit with certain restrictions. LPRs must adhere to specific rules to maintain their status.Lawful Permanent Resident status is obtained one of two routes: either Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status. Consular Processing involves doing your immigration interview with an immigration officer from America while in another country abroad. Adjustment of Status on the other hand involves doing your immigration interview in the United States, usually without ever leaving the U.S..One of the significant advantages of being an LPR is the ability to work without needing employer sponsorship, which provides greater flexibility in job opportunities. Additionally, LPRs can travel outside the U.S. and re-enter, though extended absences may affect their residency status. It is crucial for LPRs to avoid actions that could jeopardize their status, such as committing certain crimes or failing to notify USCIS of a change of address.Moreover, LPRs have the opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship after meeting particular requirements, including continuous residence in the U.S. for a specified period, demonstrating good moral character, and passing English and civics tests. Becoming a U.S. citizen provides additional benefits, such as the right to vote and protection from deportation.

A Complete Guide to the Green Card Interview

Location

Your Green Card Interview will be held at the local USCIS office nearest Columbia. Ensure that you know the exact address and plan your travel to arrive early so you can find parking. Familiarize yourself with the office location and any specific instructions provided in your appointment notice.

Arrival

Arrive with your appointment notice, government-issued identification, and any additional documents requested. Plan to arrive early to allow time for security checks. Bring all required documentation organized in a folder or binder for easy access.

Documentation

Essential documents include marriage certificates, financial documents, proof of residency, and any other evidence supporting your green card application that may also be listed on your appointment notice. Ensure all documents are original or certified copies unless otherwise specified. Organize them in a logical order to facilitate a smooth review by the officer.

Questioning

The USCIS officer will ask questions to verify the accuracy of your application and assess the legitimacy of your case. Questions may cover personal background, relationship history if applying based on marriage, employment details, and other relevant information. Be prepared to provide clear, concise, and truthful answers.

Biometrics

Though you likely had them done already, the officer may take your fingerprints and photographs as part of the biometrics process. This is a routine procedure to verify your identity and background. Ensure your hands are clean and free of any substances that might affect fingerprint quality.

Medical Examination

Your medical examination results will be reviewed to ensure you meet the health requirements for a green card. The examination must be conducted by a USCIS-approved doctor, and you should bring the completed Form I-693. Ensure all medical documents are up-to-date and properly sealed.

Responses

Provide clear, honest, and concise answers to all questions posed by the USCIS officer. Avoid providing unnecessary information or elaborating beyond what is asked. Maintain a calm and respectful demeanor throughout the interview.

Decision

The officer may inform you of their decision at the end of the interview or indicate that further review is needed which is the typical procedure. If additional information or documentation is required, you will receive instructions on how to provide it. Be prepared for either outcome and follow any additional steps promptly.

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Reach out to our Columbia Green Card Attorneys Today

SSD Law Firm PC stands out as your go-to immigration lawyers in Columbia, offering strategic legal guidance and support. Our Green Card immigration lawyers are dedicated to providing a seamless experience with a free consultation and thorough case evaluation tailored to your needs and within your own language (English, Espanol, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Lao). We understand the nuances of immigration law and are committed to helping you achieve your American dream with clear, informed, and compassionate legal representation. To get your case started, contact our Green Card Lawyer Columbia Department now.