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SSD Law Firm PC

Green Card Lawyer Petaluma

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Things to Know Now

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

Petaluma is a city with a population of approximately 57528 people. Many people in Petaluma 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 Petaluma area. Additionally, we can also assist you with Green Cards throughout every state in America.

Documentation Required to Apply for a Green Card in Petaluma

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

Do I need a Work Permit if I have my Green Card?

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 Petaluma, 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 the 90 Day Rule in Immigration?

The 90-day rule in U.S. immigration is a guideline used by immigration officers to determine if an individual who entered the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa misrepresented their intentions when applying for the visa. According to this rule, if a non-immigrant engages in conduct inconsistent with their visa status within 90 days of entry, it is presumed that they willfully misrepresented their intentions.

Examples that Could Activate the 90 Day Rule

  • Marrying a U.S. citizen and applying for adjustment of status.
  • Enrolling in school without the proper visa.
  • Undertaking unauthorized employment.

If an individual engages in these activities within the first 90 days, immigration authorities may presume fraud or willful misrepresentation, which can lead to denial of the visa application and potentially severe immigration consequences.However, if such activities occur after the 90-day period, the presumption of misrepresentation is not automatic, although it may still be considered. It’s essential to provide evidence to counter any presumption of fraud if questioned by immigration officials.Understanding the 90-day rule is crucial for those on non-immigrant visas to avoid actions that could negatively impact their immigration status. Consulting with an immigration attorney can provide guidance tailored to specific circumstances and help navigate the complexities of U.S. immigration laws.

Top Benefits of Getting a Green Card in Petaluma

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.

Estimated Timeframe for Green Card Application in Petaluma

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.

Understanding the Green Card Interview Process

Location

Your Green Card Interview will be held at the local USCIS office nearest Petaluma. 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 Petaluma Green Card Lawyers Immediately

SSD Law Firm PC stands out as your go-to immigration lawyers in Petaluma, 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 Petaluma Department now.