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SSD Law Firm PC

Green Card Lawyer Prunedale

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Things to Know Now

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Do You Need Immigration Help in the Prunedale area?

Prunedale is a city with a population of approximately 18330 people. Many people in Prunedale 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 Prunedale area. Additionally, we can also assist you with Green Cards throughout every state in America.

How Long is a Green Card Valid in Prunedale?

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.

Eligibility Guidelines for Green Card Applications in Prunedale

Qualifying for a green card in Prunedale 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.

Pending Adjustment of Status: Can You Leave 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 lawyer. 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 Immigration Home Inspections in Prunedale?

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 lawyer.

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 Prunedale. An attorney 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.

What Immigration Status is a Green Card in Prunedale?

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 Prunedale. 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.

Do I file Form I-485 for my Green Card Application

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.

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Reach out to our Prunedale Green Card Lawyers Today

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