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SSD Law Firm PC

Green Card Lawyer Torrance

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Things to Know Now

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Do You Need Immigration Assistance in the Torrance area?

Torrance is a city with a population of approximately 135663 people. Many people in Torrance 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 Torrance area. Additionally, we can also assist you with Green Cards throughout every state in America.

From Application to Approval: Green Card Processing Times

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 Wait Times for Citizenship After a Green Card in Torrance?

Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through the process of naturalization, typically after five years of continuous residence in the United States, as outlined in Section 316 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) [8 U.S.C. § 1427]. This period is reduced to three years for those married to and living with a U.S. citizen, under Section 319(a) of the INA [8 U.S.C. § 1430(a)].

Continuous Residence and Physical Presence

To qualify, LPRs must demonstrate continuous residence and physical presence in the United States during the required period. Specifically, they must have been physically present for at least 30 months plus one day out of the five years, or 18 months plus one day out of the three years if married to a U.S. citizen. Additionally, they must have resided in the state or USCIS district where they apply for at least three months prior to filing.

Good Moral Character

Green Card holders must also show good moral character, a requirement detailed in Section 101(f) of the INA [8 U.S.C. § 1101(f)]. This includes adhering to the laws of the United States and demonstrating integrity and honesty in their dealings.

English Skills

Applicants must be able to read, write, and speak basic English, and possess knowledge of U.S. history and government. These requirements are waived for certain applicants, such as those who have been permanent residents for at least 20 years and are over 50 years old, or those who are over 55 years old and have been permanent residents for 15 years. Medical exemptions can also be warranted if your doctor is able to provide evidence that you cannot learn or speak English due to a mental or physical disability.

Oath of Allegiance

Applicants must take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States, affirming their commitment to the country’s principles and laws. Local resources in Torrance, including legal aid organizations and immigration lawyers, can provide guidance and assistance in navigating the naturalization process, ensuring all requirements are met.

The Path to a Green Card: Eligibility Explained

Qualifying for a green card in Torrance 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.

A Guide to Immigration Fees for Green Card Seekers in Torrance

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.

Evidence Checklist: Applying for a Green Card in Torrance

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

Leaving the US During a Pending Adjustment Application

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.

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Reach out to our Torrance Green Card Attorneys Now

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