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Queens Green Card Attorney

Do You Need a Lawyer To Obtain a Green Card in NYC?

Obtaining a green card is how to become a legal permanent resident in the United States. If you are searching for trustworthy legal representation when it comes to getting your green card, contact a New York City immigration lawyer at Musa-Obregon Law PC. There are numerous ways that you may be able to qualify for a green card, and our team of skilled attorneys can help you find the best option for you. Dealing with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be difficult and stressful at times. That is why our firm is here to help.

The Green Card Application Process in New York

There are a variety of different green card categories, all with different steps and procedures that must be followed in order to ensure a smooth immigration process. One of the most basic requirements that is necessary for all types of green card categories is having an immigration petition filled out on your behalf. This petition (Form I-140) must not only be filled out correctly and filed, but approved before a person can qualify for a green card.

An immigrant must also be admissible to the United States. Some individuals with serious health issues, criminal history or who pose a security concern may be determined inadmissible. There must also be visa availability. While all immediate relatives of U.S. citizens will have a visa available to them, other non-citizens may have to wait for a length of time determined by your priority date.

How To Get a Green Card in NYC

There are three major ways and a few alternative ways that you may be able to qualify for permanent resident status in the United States:

Green Card Through Family

Do you have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen? Do you have a family member who is also a green card holder? You may be able to qualify for a green card through family. Other people who might qualify for a green card through their family include family members of U.S. citizens filing into a preference category and family members of individuals in immigrant "special categories" such as VAWA.

Green Card Through Employment

You may be able to qualify for permanent residency by way of a job. If you have received a job offer from a legitimate U.S. employer or you qualify as an investor, a self-petitioner or fall into a "special category of jobs" then you may be able to qualify for a green card through a job.

The job you've been offered must be both full-time and permanent. The government wants to know that your employer will keep you on for the foreseeable future, not just a few weeks or months. Because there is a limit to the amount of green cards distributed per year, individuals with more specialized jobs, such as a professor, are more likely to receive a green card.

If your job meets the most basic qualifications, it then has to be certified by the US Department of Labor (DOL). This means that the US employer has to prove to the DOL that no qualified US citizen desires to take the job. If unable to do so, then you will likely not receive the job.

The DOL then determines if your employer is willing to take on the hardship of labor certification. The employer is required to cover all labor certification costs, as well as the time costs of an attorney. This can be difficult and some employers are unwilling to do so.

The last step is to determine what you will do while waiting for a green card. Green cards can sometimes take years to formally distribute, so you may have to apply for a nonimmigrant work visa, which can also be hard to achieve right away.

Green Card Through Refugee Status or Asylum

While more rare than qualifying for a green card, some individuals may be able to petition for a green card through refugee status or by way of asylum. If you would like to learn more about refugee or asylee status, you can visit USCIS or discuss with our firm directly.

Some alternative ways to obtain a green card include the diversity immigrant visa program, classification as a special immigrant juvenile and by way of the legal immigrant family equity act. Visit the USCIS website to learn more about alternative methods for obtaining a green card.

Can I Still Obtain a Green Card after Living in the U.S. Illegally?

No matter how long you may have spent living in the U.S. already, there is no easy way to obtain a green card if you have been living here illegally.

It may be possible to fight your deportation through what is called “Cancellation of Removal” wherein non-citizens who are already in Immigration Court proceedings can request relief if they have been living in the U.S. for at least 10 years. A judge in this case can offer such a person a green card, but only so long as they have been in court proceedings first.

Other Requirements to Fighting Deportation in NYC

In addition to showing that you have been in the country for at least 10 years, you would need to show the court that your removal from the country would cause an “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to at least one of your close family members who themselves must be citizens or legal permanent residents. These relatives include spouses, parents, or children.

Furthermore, you need to show the judge that you are of good moral character to qualify for a Cancellation and have not been convicted of certain crimes while in the U.S. nor violated certain laws. The decision to grant a Cancellation is still up to the judge even if you meet all of these requirements.

In sum, if you have been living in the U.S. without legal status for a decade or more and meet the other criteria for a Cancellation, you can consider getting picked up by immigration authorities so that you can apply for one. However, there is great risk involved since no guarantee exists that you will receive one. Your best bet would be to discuss your particular situation with a New York immigration attorney who can determine if the risk is worth being given a green card.

The Need for an NYC Immigration Lawyer

Do you want to become a legal permanent resident of the United States? Contact a New York City immigration and green card attorney from our firm. Musa-Obregon Law PC has 100 years of collective experience in the field and can provide you with the legal representation you need to make your immigration dreams a reality.

To learn more, contact our Queens immigration firm today. We represent individuals throughout Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, Rockland County and Westchester County.

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