Immigration and legal residence are complicated issues that require careful attention and compliance with specific laws and regulations in order to stay out of trouble. It can be daunting to deal with immigration services, and even the most confident and capable of individuals may find themselves overwhelmed and intimidated at the prospect of coping with the authorities. The sheer volume of forms, hearings and other requirements can seem a feat that simply cannot be overcome.
Fortunately, a green card attorney can be your ally during these difficult times to help you handle all of the procedural and legal complications that can come with your efforts to gain legal residence in this country. Very tight time constraints are usually the most urgent aspect of immigration services, but the services of a green card attorney will ensure that you stay on track and get all of the steps of the legal process completed thoroughly and on schedule.
What Exactly is a Green Card?
Many people have heard of green cards, but may not necessarily know what they are and how to go about receiving one.
This card is certification that is issued by the office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that provides tangible proof of permanent residency. All non-citizen permanent residents aged 18 years or older must carry this card at all times. At any point they could be required to present the card by authorities and failure to produce it can result in penalties including fines and jail time. This card does not entitle the holder to vote or hold a federal government job or elected office, but it does obligate the holder to paying taxes and enlisting in the Selective Service if the holder is a male.
How Can a Green Card Attorney Help?
Immigration lawyers are well-versed in the laws and regulations regarding immigration, including the process of receiving a green card. This attorney can also help to determine if your actions have at any point violated these laws and how you may resolve this issue in order to avoid serious consequences. Your green card attorney can help you to prepare your documents and ensure that you have all forms of documentation and applications properly submitted on the appropriate timetable in order to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. If you decide to apply for U.S. citizenship after receiving your green card your green card attorney can also help you to prepared for this process as well.
How Do I Apply for Citizenship?
If after you receive your green card you make the decision to apply for citizenship in the United States you will need to meet basic qualifications, including:
- You must be 18 years of age or older
- You must have been a permanent resident in the U.S. for five years, unless you meet certain extenuating circumstances OR
- You must have been married to a verified U.S. citizen for three years
- You must have maintained residence in the U.S. on a continuous basis throughout your permanent residence
- You must be able to read, write and speak English
There are certain exemptions to all of these qualifications, which you should carefully discuss with your green card attorney. The process can be complicated and time-consuming, but an immigration attorney can help ease your mind and get you through each of the steps as easily and confidently as possible.