Do you dream of becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States? Obtaining a green card is
the first step. People who have a green card are considered to have Legal Permanent Resident
(LPR) status. Every year, U.S. immigrants are granted lawful permanent residency with a green
card. Holders of this card have the constitutional right to work and reside in the U.S. and enjoy
privileges such as having a driver license.
In most cases, someone must file an immigrant petition as your sponsor. A sponsor could be an
immediate relative in the United States or even a potential employer. Although rare, there are
special circumstances where you can file your petition for and by yourself.
Why Hire a Green Card Attorney?
While this process may seem easy, there are often many problems along the way if one does not
hire a green card lawyer. A knowledgeable Jacksonville green card attorney at Nooney, Roberts,
Hewett & Nowicki could prove to be an invaluable asset. With decades of combined legal
experience, we know what works and what doesn’t. We are experts at navigating difficult
situations and encourage the process to move forward for you.
Call our green card lawyers at (904) 398-1992 today to schedule a free consultation. Se habla
Do I Qualify for a Green Card?
There are several ways one could apply for a green card and each comes with its specific
paperwork and process. A Jacksonville green card lawyer at our law firm can show you the best
route to take in your situation.
You can apply for a green card:
▪ Through family
▪ Through employment
▪ As a special immigrant
▪ As a victim of abuse
▪ As an applicant under the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program
▪ As a refugee
▪ As a victim of human trafficking
▪ As an asylee
▪ As an applicant under the Cuban Adjustment Act
▪ As a victim of a crime
▪ As a resident of the U.S. that has remained in the country since before January 1, 1972.
Obtaining a Green Card Through Family
1.To apply for a Green Card, you must be eligible under one of the categories below:
2.You may be eligible to apply as another relative of a U.S. citizen or relative of a lawful
permanent resident (under the family-based preference categories) if you are the:
a. Family member of a U.S. citizen
i. Unmarried son or daughter of a U.S. citizen and you are 21 years or older
ii. Married son or daughter of a U.S. citizen
iii. Brother or sister of a U.S. citizen who it at least 21 years old
b. Family member of a lawful permanent resident
i. Spouse of a lawful permanent resident
ii. Unmarried child under the age of 21 of a lawful permanent resident
iii. Unmarried son or daughter of a lawful permanent resident 21 years old or older
3.You may be eligible to apply as a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or the fiancé(e)’s child if you
a. Person admitted to the U.S. as a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen (K-1 nonimmigrant)
b. Person admitted to the U.S. as the child of a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen (K-2
4.You may be eligible to apply as a widow(er) of a U.S. citizen if you are the:
a. Widow or widower of a U.S. citizen and you were married to your U.S. citizen
spouse at the time your spouse died
5.You may be eligible to apply as a VAWA self-petitioner—victim of batter or extreme
cruelty if you are the:
a. Abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
b. Abused child (unmarried and under 21 years old) of a U.S. citizen or lawful
c. Abused parent of a U.S. citizen
There are many steps to applying for a green card for a family member. Most of these steps are
to be completed by the “petitioner” or “sponsor.” Note: USCIS is short for United States
Citizenship and Immigration Services.
When the U.S. citizen files Form I-130 with USCIS, it lets them know that you wish to sponsor
an immigrant. It is required that you have a relationship with the immigrant by providing
documents such as birth or marriage certificate and proof of resident status. If you are a widow,
and abused spouse, or a child of a U.S. citizen, you may complete a self-petition with a Form I360.
It might take USCIS months or even years to approve the petition. If they approve it, the case
will proceed and the immigrant’s case file will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). If it is
denied, you can know why it was denied and if it is fixable, you can file a new petition.
If you are a preference relative (spouse or children of green card holders, or married children or
siblings of citizens), you are not eligible for a green card immediately. This is because there is an
annual limit on the number of visas that can be approved. The wait can take years and your spot
on the waiting list depends on when USCIS received your Form I-130 (also referred to as a
When the petition is approved, the immigrant must apply for permanent residence, usually
through a U.S. consulate outside of the United States. The NVC and consulate will communicate
directly with the immigrant regarding additional documents, appointments, and interviews that
need to be completed. This is what is called “consular processing”. After everything is completed
without any issue, a green card will be sent within several weeks.
Obtaining a Green Card Through Employment
Getting a green card for employment involves the steps below:
▪ Permanent Labor Certification: 6 months to several years
▪ I-140 petition approval: an average of 4 months
▪ I-485 application approval: an average of 6 months
Since every case is unique, it may take longer or shorter. Altogether, it may take a few years to
obtain a green card; however, you may begin working in the U.S. through a temporary work visa
▪ B-1 Visa
▪ Investor visas
▪ H-1B Vis
▪ L-1 Visa
▪ P Visa
▪ R Visa
People regarded as “special immigrants” include religious workers, special immigrant juveniles,
and international broadcasters.
For experienced guidance, call us at (904) 398-1992 to speak with a Florida green card attorney
in Jacksonville today!