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SSD Law Firm PC

Green Card Lawyer Santa Maria

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Things to Know Now

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Do You Need Immigration Help around the Santa Maria area?

Santa Maria is a city with a population of approximately 110508 people. Many people in Santa Maria 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 Maria area. Additionally, we can also assist you with Green Cards throughout every state in America.

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 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.

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.

The Path to a Green Card: Eligibility Explained

Qualifying for a green card in Santa Maria 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.

Do You Need a Sponsor to Apply for a Green Card in Santa Maria?

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.

What Immigration Status is a Green Card in Santa Maria?

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.

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Call our Santa Maria Green Card Attorneys Today

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