Permanent Residency (American Green Card)

There are a variety of ways to obtain lawful permanent resident status (or, “get an American Green Card”). Chandler Law Firm, LLC carefully evaluates each individual’s situation and recommends a procedure. The most common ways of obtaining permanent residency include the following:

Employment-Based Petitions

Phase 1: Department of Labor

Most persons who immigrate based on their job skills need to establish that there are no American workers able and willing to do the job that the prospective foreign worker can do. To do this, they need a prospective employer who recruits for the position, following very detailed and specific procedures. If, following recruitment, the U.S. Department of Labor is convinced that there are no American workers available for the position, it will issue a “labor certification.”

Certain groups are exempt from the labor certification requirement or eligible for an expedited labor certification process. Please consult our office for further information on eligibility for exceptions to the usual process, as described.

Phase 2: USCIS and Department of State

After the job offer is certified by the U.S. Department of Labor, our office will prepare a visa petition for submission to CIS. Along with the visa petition, we submit proof that the alien qualifies for the position and proof that the employer is capable of paying the alien.

Most persons pursuing permanent residency (seeking to obtain an American green card) will choose to complete the process within the U.S. by “adjusting status.” For our adjustment applicants, we submit an “Application to Adjust Status” either with the visa petition or after the petition is approved. Alternatively, persons may complete the process at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy outside of the U.S.

Whether the process is completed inside or outside of the U.S., CIS – or the Department of State if outside the U.S. – will make a final determination as to whether the applicant should be admitted as a resident and will verify that the job offer certified by the Department of Labor is still available.

Employer’s Responsibilities

1. Maintain an offer of employment open to the alien during the entire duration of the process. Because of current lengthy processing times, CIS now allows aliens to change employers and to continue with the residence process after their adjustment applications have been pending for 180 days. However, detailed criteria must be met in order for such a “transfer” to be permitted. Please consult this office for details.

2. Provide a copy of the company’s, or personal (depending on the case) most recent Federal Income Tax Return, or other financial information, to prove the company’s ability to pay the wages offered to the alien.

3. Contact and interview job applicants who, from their resumes, appear to qualify for the position described in the Labor Certification Application.

4. Provide a “Job Offer Letter” at the end of the case confirming that the job is available to the alien.

Family Petitions

United States citizens may petition CIS to allow their spouses, children, siblings and parents to immigrate. Lawful permanent residents of the United States may petition only for their spouses and children. Some of the categories of relatives who are eligible to enter the United States based on a relative’s petition are subject to the visa quota system and may have to wait several years before being eligible to immigrate.

American Green Card Lottery

The visa lottery, offered annually to persons from specific countries, has been a means that thousands have used to become permanent residents of the U.S. The process is an easy one, usually requiring no legal assistance. We encourage our clients to apply for the lottery, since the filing of a lottery application does not interfere with other methods of acquiring residency which may be in process.

Investment

Certain persons who invest a large amount of money in the U.S., at least $500,000 to $1,000,000, and create at least ten full-time jobs for American workers, may be eligible to obtain residency based on their investment. The investment must create a new enterprise or re-structure an existing enterprise; and it must be maintained for at least two years.

Religious Workers

Religious workers, including ministers, religious professionals and other workers engaged in work of a religious nature may be eligible to apply for permanent residency without first obtaining a labor certification. They must work for 501(c)(3) – eligible organizations and meet specific membership criteria.