Chicago Green Card Lawyer

Officially called a U.S. Permanent Resident Card, a green card allows you to live and work in the U.S., and offers an eventual path to citizenship. A Chicago green card lawyer at Cho Immigration Law will help you navigate the various stages of applying for and obtaining lawful permanent resident status.

We have more than 30 years of experience guiding clients through the process of obtaining green cards, so they can begin living their versions of the American Dream.

Whether you’re seeking to join family already living in the U.S., pursuing job opportunities, or needing asylum, we will explain how to become a lawful permanent resident. Our green card immigration attorneys act as advisors and advocates, walking you through each step toward setting down your roots in the U.S.

Contact a Chicago green card lawyer at Cho Immigration Law, for a free consultation. Call (312) 853-3088.

What Is a Green Card?

The green card is an essential immigration document issued by the U.S. government to foreign nationals who have applied for, qualified for, and received lawful, permanent resident status. It serves as proof an individual has the right to indefinitely live and work in the U.S., and allows travel in and out of the country. Additionally, green card holders may take advantage of many government-offered benefits.

In exchange for the rights afforded to those granted green cards, they also take on certain responsibilities. Lawful permanent residents must pay state and federal taxes, and they must abide by U.S. laws. 

Green Card Eligibility Categories

Depending on your circumstances, several eligibility categories exist through which you may obtain lawful permanent resident status. To apply for this status, you will need to meet the criteria of one of these categories. A green card immigration lawyer will help you determine where you fit, and aid you in initiating the process to secure your place in the U.S.

Family-Based Green Card

The U.S. immigration process emphasizes the importance of keeping families together. Through a family-based green card, a U.S. citizen or green card holder can sponsor certain family members for lawful permanent resident status. Eligible family members include spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21-years-old, and parents. 

Employment-Based Green Card

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services also has preference categories for those seeking permanent residency for employment-based reasons or opportunities. Green card applicants with specialized professional abilities or talents may receive lawful permanent resident status through this category. For instance, this may include those in jobs with labor shortages, multinational executives, and others with significant investments in the U.S.

Special Immigrant Status

The special immigrant preference category recognizes those who have served the U.S. For example, current or former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, certain embassy or international organization employees, religious workers, and international broadcasters may have preference in getting approved for lawful permanent resident status.

Asylee or Refugee Status

USCIS also offers preferential consideration for those seeking refuge from persecutionin their home countries. After a year, those granted asylum in the U.S. become eligible to apply for green cards, offering them a path toward permanent residency, and protection from the persecution or conflict they fled.

Victims of Human Trafficking and Other Crimes

Victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes may qualify for U visas and T visas. Under certain conditions, they may pursue lawful permanent resident status after receiving a U- or T-visa, offering them legal status and protection, and the chance to rebuild their lives.

Other Categories

Eligibility for a green card in the U.S. may also come through the USCIS diversity visa lottery program. Through the lottery, those whose home countries have historically low immigration rates may receive lawful permanent resident status through random allocation.

At Cho Immigration Law, our legal team will help you identify your eligibility status and category, and guide you through the process of becoming a lawful permanent resident.

How To Apply for a Green Card

Applying to obtain a green card in the U.S. is a multistep process. First, you must determine your eligibility based on the available immigrant categories and your specific circumstances. Provided you qualify, you will then complete and submit the appropriate forms – typically an immigrant petition and the green card application. You will also need to provide photos, fingerprints, and a signature at a biometrics appointment, and attend an interview with a USCIS agent before receiving a decision. 

When filling out your applications and engaging in the interview, you should be as complete and accurate with the information you provide as possible. Errors and omissions may delay the processing of your application, or result in a denial. An experienced green card attorney will help make sure you have all the required documentation, and ensure you are prepared for each step in the process.

Do You Need to Hire a Chicago Green Card Immigration Lawyer?

Applying for lawful permanent residency in the U.S. is a complex process that deals with ever-changing regulations. The experienced green card attorneys at our law firm stays up-to-date on these changes, giving us the knowledge needed to handle your case with proficiency. 

When you hire our green car attorneys, we will aid with gathering supporting documentation and completing the necessary forms, and we’ll help you avoid potential pitfalls throughout the process that may result in delays or a denial. While you’re not required to obtain lawful permanent residency, hiring a Chicago green card immigration lawyer to assist with your application may help expedite the process and ensure its success.

FAQs About Lawful Permanent Residency in the United States

Is it possible for a U.S. green card to expire?

With few exceptions, U.S. green cards are valid for up to 10-years. To keep your lawful permanent resident status, you must renew your card before it expires. Failing to do so may void your status, and cause issues with travel, employment, and access to benefits.

Renewing your green card will follow a similar process to that of your initial application. You must complete and submit the appropriate form with supporting documentation and pay a filing fee. In some cases, you may be required to attend a biometric appointment. After processing your application, which can take several months, USCIS will issue a decision. You will receive your new card in the mail if approved.

Can I become a U.S. citizen after getting my green card?

Yes. Getting a green card is an important first step toward citizenship. To apply to become a U.S. citizen, you must have held your green card for three or five years, depending on the circumstances, and have continuously resided in the U.S. during that time. Any extended periods of time spent outside the U.S. may affect your eligibility. 

In addition to these requirements, you must also show good moral character and pass an English and civics test demonstrating you can speak, read, and write in English, and that you have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government.

Can a U.S. green card holder sponsor a family member for a green card?

Yes, green card holders can sponsor certain family members to obtain green cards themselves, and become lawful permanent residents. Eligible family members include spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21-years-old, and other immediate relatives. Green cardholders seeking to sponsor family members should keep in mind that they will have to prove financial stability and have a willingness to take on responsibility for the sponsored family member.