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SSD Law Firm PC

Green Card Lawyer Fountain Valley

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Things to Know Now

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Do You Need Immigration Help in the Fountain Valley area?

Fountain Valley is a city with a population of approximately 54893 people. Many people in Fountain Valley 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 Fountain Valley area. Additionally, we can also assist you with Green Cards throughout every state in America.

Can You Travel Abroad While Your Green Card Application is Pending?

Traveling abroad while your green card application is pending can be complex and requires careful planning. Here’s a detailed overview of what you need to know and the steps to take:

Understanding the Travel Restrictions

  1. Advance Parole Requirement: Generally, if you leave the U.S. while your green card application (Form I-485) is pending, your application may be considered abandoned unless you have obtained Advance Parole. Advance Parole is a travel document that allows you to re-enter the U.S. without jeopardizing your pending green card application.
  2. Applying for Advance Parole: To secure this document, you must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with USCIS. It is advisable to submit Form I-131 simultaneously with your I-485 application to avoid delays. The processing time can vary, so plan accordingly.
  3. Emergency Travel: If an emergency necessitates travel before you obtain Advance Parole, consult with an immigration attorney. In some cases, it is possible to expedite the process by providing documentation of the emergency.

Practical Steps to Follow

  1. Check Your Eligibility: Confirm that you are eligible for Advance Parole. Certain applicants, such as those in removal proceedings or who have violated their immigration status, may face restrictions.
  2. Submit Form I-131: Fill out Form I-131 accurately and include supporting documents, such as a copy of your I-485 receipt notice, passport photos, and proof of the need to travel (if applicable).
  3. Await Approval: After submitting your application, wait for USCIS to process and approve it. Avoid making non-refundable travel arrangements until you have received your Advance Parole document.
  4. Travel with Documentation: If you receive Advance Parole, carry it along with your valid passport when traveling. Ensure you return to the U.S. within the validity period specified on the document.

Important Considerations

  • Non-immigrant Visa Holders: If you initially entered the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa (such as a tourist visa) and later applied for a green card, consult with a Green Card lawyer to navigate potential issues related to intent and visa compliance.
  • Timelines and Deadlines: Be mindful of the timelines for both your Advance Parole application and your green card process. Missing deadlines or being abroad when USCIS requests additional information or schedules an interview could complicate your case.
  • Legal Advice: Given the complexities involved, seeking legal advice tailored to your specific situation can prevent potential pitfalls and ensure that you remain compliant with immigration laws.

By following these steps and understanding the underlying reasons, you can manage your travel plans without jeopardizing your green card application.

Understanding the Green Card Interview Process

Location

Your Green Card Interview will be held at the local USCIS office nearest Fountain Valley. 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.

Green Card Expiry: How Long Until Renewal?

Unconditional Green Card = 10 Years

A green card is typically valid for 10 years. For most lawful permanent residents (LPRs), this 10-year validity period applies, and they must renew their green card before it expires to maintain their status. The renewal process involves filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, which can be done online or via mail. It’s recommended to start the renewal process about six months before the card’s expiration date to avoid any lapse in status.

Conditional Green Card = 2 Years

Conditional green cards, issued to certain individuals such as those who obtained their status through marriage or as entrepreneurs, are valid for only 2 years. Conditional residents must apply to remove the conditions on their residency by filing Form I-751 (for marriage-based conditional residents) or Form I-829 (for investor-based conditional residents) within the 90-day period before their card expires. Upon approval, they receive a regular (unconditional) 10-year green card.

Validity

It’s crucial for green card holders to keep their card valid, as it serves as proof of their lawful status in the United States. An expired green card can cause complications with employment, travel, and obtaining benefits. Green card holders must also ensure their information is up to date with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to avoid any issues with their permanent residency status.

Evidence Checklist: Applying for a Green Card in Fountain Valley

For an Adjustment of Status (AOS) to be successful, applicants must demonstrate bona fides, or good faith, in various aspects of their application. These are some of the key bona fides required:

Valid Entry and Continuous Residence

  • Proof of Lawful Entry: Applicants must provide evidence that they were lawfully admitted to the United States. This can include a visa stamp, Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record), or other entry documentation.
  • Continuous Residence: Applicants must demonstrate that they have continuously resided in the U.S. since their entry and during the required period preceding the application.

Eligibility Under an Immigration Category

  • Family-Based Petitions: If applying based on a family relationship, such as through a U.S. citizen spouse or parent, applicants must provide documentation of the relationship, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, or proof of a bona fide marriage. Evidence of a bona fide marriage can include joint bank accounts, leases, mortgages, and photographs.
  • Employment-Based Petitions: For employment-based applications, applicants need a job offer and an approved labor certification. Documentation might include an employment contract, employer’s letter, and evidence of qualifications or skills.
  • Other Categories: Applicants under other categories (e.g., asylees, refugees) must provide relevant documentation supporting their status and eligibility.

Good Moral Character

  • Criminal Background Checks: Applicants must undergo background checks and provide police records, demonstrating they have no serious criminal history.
  • Personal Conduct: Evidence of good moral character can include affidavits from employers, community leaders, or others who can vouch for the applicant’s integrity and behavior.

Medical Examination

  • Form I-693: Applicants must undergo a medical examination by a USCIS-approved doctor. The results, documented on Form I-693, must be submitted as part of the AOS application to show they meet health-related standards.

Financial Support

  • Affidavit of Support (Form I-864): For family-based applications, sponsors must submit an Affidavit of Support, proving they can financially support the applicant to prevent them from becoming a public charge. Evidence might include tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements.

Immigration Status Documentation

  • Proof of Current Status: Applicants need to maintain valid non-immigrant status until their AOS application is filed. This includes providing documentation of current visas and any status changes.

Collecting and organizing these bona fides is crucial for a successful adjustment of status application. In Fountain Valley, our immigration lawyers can provide assistance in gathering the necessary documents and ensuring that all requirements are met.

Advantages of Having a Green Card in Fountain Valley

Obtaining a green card provides numerous benefits:

Live and Work in the USA

Green card holders can live and work permanently in the United States without the need for special permits or visas. This stability allows for long-term employment opportunities and the ability to establish roots in the community.

Social Security Card and Benefits

Green card holders are also eligible for social security benefits and can apply for state and federal aid programs.

Own Property and Bring Family Members to the US

They have the right to own property and can sponsor certain family members for their own permanent resident status, promoting family reunification.

Travel Outside the US

Green card holders can travel more freely in and out of the U.S., though extended absences may affect their status.

Path to Citizenship

Green card holders have a clear pathway to U.S. citizenship. After meeting the residency requirements, they can apply for naturalization, which grants the full benefits of U.S. citizenship, including the right to vote and protection against deportation.

From Application to Approval: Green Card Processing Times

The timeframe to obtain a green card after applying varies significantly based on several factors, including the type of visa, the applicant’s country of origin, and the specific circumstances of the case. Generally, the process can take anywhere from several months to several years.

Family-Based Green Cards

For immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21), the process is typically faster, often taking about 10 to 16 months. However, for other family-sponsored categories, such as siblings of U.S. citizens or married children, the wait can be much longer due to annual visa caps and high demand, sometimes extending to several years.

Employment-Based Green Cards

The processing time for employment-based green cards also varies. Categories such as EB-1 (priority workers) usually have shorter wait times, often between 8 months to 1.5 years. In contrast, EB-3 (skilled workers) and EB-2 (professionals with advanced degrees) may face longer processing times, particularly if the applicant is from a country with high demand, such as India or China, where it can take several years.

Asylum or Refugee Green Cards

Applicants who have been granted asylum or refugee status can apply for a green card one year after their entry or status grant. The processing time for these applications typically ranges from 8 months to 2 years.

Diversity Visa Lottery

Winners of the Diversity Visa Lottery must complete their green card process within the fiscal year they are selected, which generally spans about one year.Overall, while the timeframe to get a green card can vary widely, applicants should prepare for a potentially lengthy process and seek guidance from our legal professionals to navigate the complexities involved.

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Reach out to our Fountain Valley Green Card Attorneys Today

SSD Law Firm PC stands out as your go-to immigration attorneys in Fountain Valley, 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 Fountain Valley Department now.