How Can I Get Permanent Residence / Green Card Status in AZ?
It is important to understand that the federal government states that being a permanent resident is a privilege, not a right. The government will be able to take away permanent resident status under certain conditions, and people need to understand what is necessary to maintain their permanent resident status even after being awarded a Green Card.
Green Card Eligibility Categories
A person can obtain a Green Card in a variety of ways, including:
Green Card through Family
A person may be eligible to apply as an immediate relative of a United States citizen if they are the spouse of a United States citizen, the unmarried child under the age of 21 of a United States citizen, or the parent of a United States citizen who is at least 21 years of age.
Green Card through Employment
A person may be eligible to apply as an immigrant worker if they are either:
- a first preference immigrant worker, meaning they:
- have an extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics
- are considered an outstanding professor or researcher
- are a multinational manager or executive who satisfies certain criteria
- a second preference immigrant worker, meaning they:
- have exceptional abilities in either the sciences, arts, or business
- have some job involving an advanced degree
- happen to be in the process of seeking a national interest waiver
- a third preference immigrant worker, meaning they are:
- a skilled worker which means their job requires a minimum of two years of training or work experience
- a professional which means their job requires at least an American bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent and they are a member of the profession
- an unskilled worker which means they will perform unskilled labor requiring less than two years of training or experience.
It is also possible for people to obtain a Physician National Interest Waiver in which applicants are physicians who agree to work full-time in clinical practice in a designated underserved area for a set period of time and also meet other eligibility requirements or immigrant investors who either are actively in the process of investing or have already invested a minimum of $1,050,000 (or $800,000 in some targeted employment area or infrastructure project) for a new commercial enterprise in the United States that plans to create full-time positions for a minimum of 10 qualifying employees.
Green Card as a Special Immigrant
A person may be eligible to apply as a religious worker when they are:
- a member of a religious denomination that is coming to the United States to work for a nonprofit religious organization
- a Special Immigrant Juvenile, which means they are a juvenile needing the protection of a juvenile court because they were abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent
- an Afghanistan or Iraq national, meaning they were either an Afghan or Iraqi translator or interpreter for the United States government, an Iraqi employed by or for the federal government in Iraq on or after March 20, 2003, for a minimum of one year, or an Afghan employed by the federal government or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
- an international broadcaster who is coming to work in the United States as a member of the media for the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) or a USAGM grantee
- an employee of any international organization or the family member or NATO-6 employee or family member who is a retired officer or the employee of any eligible international organization or NATO, or are the eligible family member of such an employee.
Green Card through Refugee or Asylee Status
A person can apply as an asylee if asylum status was granted to them at least one year ago, or as a refugee, if they earned admission as a refugee at least one year ago as well.
Green Card for Human Trafficking and Crime Victims
Green Card for Victims of Abuse
A person could be eligible to apply as a Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) self-petitioner or victim of battery or extreme cruelty if they are the abused spouse of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR), an abused child who is unmarried and under 21 years of age, of a United States citizen or LPR, or the abused parent of a United States citizen. A person may also be able to apply if they are a Special Immigrant Juvenile, meaning they are a child who has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by their parent and they have SIJ status, they are an abused (meaning victim of battery or extreme cruelty) spouse or child under the Cuban Adjustment Act, meaning an abused spouse or child of a Cuban native or citizen, or an abused (victim of battery or extreme cruelty) spouse or child under the Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA), meaning the abused spouse or child of an LPR who received their Green Card based on HRIFA.
Green Card through Other Categories
Other categories that may allow people to apply for Green Cards include:
- Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) for Liberian nationals who have been continuously physically present in the United States since Nov. 20, 2014 or people who are the spouses, children under 21 years of age, or unmarried children over the age of 21 of qualifying Liberian nationals
- the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program for people selected for a diversity visa in the Department of State’s diversity visa lottery
- the Cuban Adjustment Act for Cuban natives or citizens or spouses or children of Cuban natives or citizens, abused (meaning victims of battery or extreme cruelty) spouses or children under the Cuban Adjustment Act who are abused spouses or children of Cuban natives or citizens
- people with dependent status under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA) who are the spouses or children of LPRs who received their Green Cards based on HRIFA, abused (meaning victims of battery or extreme cruelty) spouses or children under HRIFA who are the abused spouses or children of a LPRs who received their Green Cards based on HRIFA
- Lautenberg parolees who were paroled into the United States as Lautenberg parolees
- people filing under the Indochinese Parole Adjustment Act of 2000 which applies to natives or citizens of Vietnam, Laos, or Kampuchea (Cambodia) who were paroled into the United States on or before October 1, 1997, from Vietnam under the Orderly Departure Program, any refugee camp in East Asia, or any displaced person camp that was administered by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Thailand
- American Indians born in Canada who was born in Canada, possess at least 50 percent American Indian blood and have a principal residence in the United States
- people born in the United States to foreign diplomats who were born in the United States to foreign diplomatic officers stationed in the United States when they were born, or Section 13 (diplomat) applicants who were stationed in the United States as foreign diplomats or high ranking officials and are unable to return home.
Green Card through Registry
Some people can register for Green Cards with the help of a Phoenix Immigration Attorney if they have resided continuously in the United States since January 1, 1972.
Green Card Processes and Procedures
After determining the eligibility category you fall under, there can be multiple ways to obtain a green card with the help of a Phoenix immigration Attorney. Some of these methods include:
Adjustment of Status
A person can apply for a Green Card through adjustment of status when they are present in the United States without needing to return to their home country to complete visa processing. Many people applying for a Green Card will need to complete at least two forms, an immigrant petition, and a Green Card application.
Someone else typically must file a petition for the applicant (which is often known as sponsoring or petitioning), although a person could be eligible to file for themselves in certain cases. Common forms will include:
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
- Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal
- Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
- Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition
- possibly Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur
- Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant
- Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant
- Form I-918, Petition of U Nonimmigrant Status.
When a person is the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition, and an immigrant visa number becomes immediately available to them, people outside of the United States can apply at a United States Department of State consulate abroad for an immigrant visa to come to the United States and gain admission as a permanent resident, which is known as consular processing.
Concurrent Filing of Form I-485
A concurrent filing of Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, involves an adjustment of the status application being filed prior to the approval of an underlying immigrant visa petition. To be considered a concurrent filing, an immigrant visa petition and the adjustment of status application have to be filed at the same time and mailed together with all required filing fees and supporting documentation going to the same filing location.
Concurrent filing is only allowed for
- immediate relatives of United States citizens who are living in the United States
- many employment-based applicants and their eligible family members when a visa number becomes immediately available
- Special Immigrant Juveniles when an EB-4 visa number is immediately available, and USCIS has jurisdiction over an application to adjust status
- self-petitioning battered spouses or children if abusive spouses or parents are United States citizens or an immigrant visa number becomes immediately available
- certain members of the armed forces who are applying for a special immigrant visa under Section101(a)(27)(K) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
- Special Immigrant International Organization Employees or family members
Child Status Protection Act (CSPA)
The INA definition of a child is a person who is both unmarried and under 21 years of age. If a person applies for LPR status as a child but turns 21 before being approved for LPR status, they can no longer be considered a child for immigration purposes. This is more commonly known as “aging out,” which can mean that an applicant must file a new petition or application. While CSPA does not change the definition of a child, it does provide a method for calculating an applicant’s age to see if they satisfy the definition of a child for immigration purposes, so a calculated age will be a child’s “CSPA age.” Some people may then remain classified as children beyond their 21st birthday.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Phoenix Immigration Attorney
If you are currently attempting to earn LPR status or a Green Card in the United States, you should know that you do not have to try and handle everything on your own. By working with Diamondback Legal, you will give yourself the strongest possible chance of earning approval as quickly as possible.
Our Phoenix Immigration Attorney has helped scores of immigrants all over Arizona achieve Green Card status by working closely with all applicants and ensuring all of the relevant paperwork is in order, so there are no snags with anything during the application process. You may call us at (602) 755-3199 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with our Phoenix Immigration Attorney so we can thoroughly review your case and discuss what you are going to have to do moving forward.