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SSD Law Firm PC

Green Card Lawyer Pacific Grove

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Things to Know Now

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Do You Need Immigration Assistance in the Pacific Grove area?

Pacific Grove is a city with a population of approximately 14507 people. Many people in Pacific Grove 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 Pacific Grove area. Additionally, we can also assist you with Green Cards throughout every state in America.

Documentation Required to Apply for a Green Card in Pacific Grove

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 Pacific Grove, our immigration lawyers can provide assistance in gathering the necessary documents and ensuring that all requirements are met.

Can I work on my Green Card in Pacific Grove?

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 Pacific Grove, 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.

Understanding the Validity Period of Your Green Card

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.

Can Adjustment Applicants Travel Outside the Country?

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 attorney 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.

Do Pacific Grove Green Card Applicants Always Need a Sponsor?

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.

Understanding Green Card Application Fees in Pacific Grove

The immigration fees for Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) and Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) are essential costs to consider when applying for a green card.

Form I-485

The filing fee for Form I-485 varies based on the applicant’s age and circumstances. As of this writing:-For applicants aged 14 to 78, the fee is $1,440.-For applicants under 14, filing with at least one parent’s application, the fee is $950.-For applicants over 78, the fee is $1,440, as they are exempt from the biometric fee.-Refugees are exempt from the fee when adjusting status.

Form I-130

The filing fee for Form I-130 is $675 for paper filing and $625 for online filing. This form is used by U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents to establish their relationship to certain family members who wish to immigrate to the U.S.These fees are subject to change, so it’s important to check the latest updates from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website before filing.

Inside the Green Card Interview Process

Location

Your Green Card Interview will be held at the local USCIS office nearest Pacific Grove. 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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Contact our Pacific Grove Green Card Attorneys Today

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