Comprehensive Legal Guidance in Tampa
If you wish to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis or are interested in becoming a citizen, you will need a green card, which confers lawful permanent residency. Lawful permanent residents enjoy numerous benefits can live and work just about anywhere in the United States. They can also sponsor their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 for their own green cards.
Becoming a lawful permanent resident is not always easy or straightforward. Our Orlando green card lawyer at DLA Immigration Services has over 25 years of legal experience and can provide the honest, diligent, and compassionate legal guidance you need. We can assess your unique circumstances and determine the most efficient means of obtaining your green card.
Most immigrants become lawful permanent residents through family-based immigration or employment-based immigration. However, there are several other means of acquiring a green card.
Our Orlando green card attorney can help you obtain lawful permanent residency through:
- Family Petitions. Existing U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can sponsor certain types of family members for green cards. Spouses, parents, and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of citizens are considered “immediate relatives” and will face no additional wait once their petition has been approved. Qualifying relatives of lawful permanent residents and other types of qualifying relatives of citizens will need to wait for a visa to become available before they can obtain their green cards. We can help you understand what family members can be sponsored and advise on what type of wait you should expect.
- Employment-Based Immigration. U.S. employers can sponsor prospective foreign employees for green cards if they are filling a vacancy that cannot otherwise be filled by an American worker. Employers must generally complete a labor certification that verifies the position is fairly compensated and that no qualified domestic workers were available to take the job. A limited number of employment-based green cards are distributed each year, and the available visas are distributed amongst 5 preference categories. Professionals with exceptional abilities and advanced degrees are more heavily prioritized, but skilled and unskilled workers can also qualify. Our firm can assist you and your sponsoring employer with obtaining the necessary labor certifications and guide you through the application process.
- Investment Visas. The EB-5 visa, which is technically an employment-based green card, is reserved for immigrant investors. To qualify, an entrepreneur must invest at least $1,800,000 in a new, U.S.-based commercial enterprise or at least $900,000 in a rural or economically distressed area that has been preapproved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The investment must result in the creation of preservation of at least 10 domestic jobs within 2 years. If you have the necessary funds, our firm can ensure your investment meets all visa requirements and help you navigate the application and disclosure processes.
- The Diversity Lottery. The United States conducts an annual lottery that distributes 50,000 green cards to qualifying individuals and their families. Lottery entrants must meet certain education requirements and have been born in a country that does not send many immigrants to the U.S. We can evaluate your eligibility and help you enter the lottery.
- Asylum. Individuals that have experienced persecution or have a well-founded fear of future persecution in their home country or previous country of residence can qualify for asylum status. The past or feared persecution must be on the basis of the individual’s race, religion, nationality, political opinions, or membership in a particular social group. Asylees can apply for green cards after 1 year of receiving their status. We can help you seek asylum affirmatively or defensively. If you already have asylum status, we can help you procure your green card and become a lawful permanent resident.
- U Visas. Victims of serious crimes can qualify for a U visa, which allows recipients to remain in the United States so long as they cooperate with and meaningfully assist law enforcement. If you have had a U visa for at least 3 years, we can help you obtain a green card.
- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Immediate relatives that have been the victim of “extreme cruelty” perpetrated by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent may be eligible to self-petition for green cards. We can determine if you qualify and guide you through the self-petitioning process.
ExperiencedWe have over 25 years of experience fighting for cases just like yours.
EmpatheticAttorney Lugo-Auffant is very familiar with the immigrant experience and understands the challenges of coming to a new country.
AttentiveWe prioritize our client's unique needs and Attorney Lugo-Auffant has a hand in every single case we handle.
Once your green card application is approved and your priority date is current, your next steps will depend on whether you are currently in the United States. If you are abroad, you will need to apply for and complete consular processing at your home country’s U.S. embassy or consular office. If you are currently in the U.S., you will apply for an Adjustment of Status. You may need a waiver to obtain your green card if you are currently inadmissible to the United States.
Once you receive your physical green card, you can live and work practically anywhere in the United States. Most green cards will be valid in 10-year increments and can be efficiently renewed.
If you obtained an EB-5 immigrant investor visa, your green card will be “conditional” and will expire after only 2 years. You can apply to remove conditions once you prove your investment created or preserved 10 American jobs and met all other requirements. Green cards obtained through marriages that are less than 2 years old will also be conditional and expire after 2 years. You must petition to remove conditions from a conditional green card in the 90-day window before it expires.
Lawful permanent residents can still be targeted for removal if they are convicted of a serious crime or break certain immigration rules. Green card beneficiaries must report address changes to USCIS, for example. Our Orlando green card lawyer at DLA Immigration Services can help you understand your responsibilities and obligations as a lawful permanent resident and represent you in any removal proceedings should the need arise.