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SSD Law Firm PC

Green Card Lawyer Santa Clarita

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Things to Know Now

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Does a Loved One Need Immigration Assistance in the Santa Clarita area?

Santa Clarita is a city with a population of approximately 214625 people. Many people in Santa Clarita 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 Santa Clarita area. Additionally, we can also assist you with Green Cards throughout every state in America.

Eligibility to Apply for a Green Card in Santa Clarita

Qualifying for a green card in Santa Clarita 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.

What is Green Card Status in Santa Clarita?

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.

Do I file Form i485 for my Adjustment of Status 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.

Employment Guidelines for Green Card holders in Santa Clarita?

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 Santa Clarita, 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.

Green Card Wait Times in Santa Clarita: What to Expect

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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Call our Santa Clarita Green Card Attorneys Today

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