Attorney Truong has successfully represented clients in a wide variety of immigration matters. Immigration issues include citizenship, lawful permanent residency, family and employment-related immigration, employment authorization, inter-country adoptions, asylum and refugee status, replacement immigration documents, and foreign student’s authorization. Attorney Truong is ready to assist you in your all immigration needs.

Summary ¹

Generally, a person who wants to immigrate to the United States must first become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. A lawful permanent resident is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of permanently living and/or working in the United States. One possible basis for becoming a lawful permanent resident is if you have a relative who is either 1) a citizen of the United States or 2) is a lawful permanent resident. But the process is not automatic. It still involves a multi-step process.

Ordinarily, getting a “green card” is the first step in this process. All foreign nationals receive a green card when permanent resident status is granted by the United States. A green card is proof of that permanent resident status. Any permanent resident aged 18 years or older, must have a valid green card in his or her possession at all times. Current green cards are valid for 10 years, or 2 years in the case of a conditional resident, and must be renewed before the card expires.

A permanent resident shows the permanent resident’s eligibility for employment in the United States. The green card is necessary for completing the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. A green card is also usually necessary for applying for a Social Security card and Social Security benefits as well a state issued driver’s license. A green card is valid for readmission to the United States after a trip abroad if the permanent resident is gone from the United States for less than one year. If the permanent resident remains outside of the United States for more than one year, a reentry permit will be needed.

The steps to becoming a “permanent resident” and getting a “green card” vary based on the circumstances of each person. Several ways of getting a green card exist depending on the circumstances of the foreign national seeking permanent resident status within the United States.

The main categories are:

I. Green Card Through Family:

  • an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen: this includes spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older
  • a family member of a U.S. citizen fitting into a preference category: this includes unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21, married children of any age, and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older
  • a family member of a green card holder: this includes spouses and unmarried children of the sponsoring green card holder
  • a member of a special category, this can include battered spouse or child (VAWA), a K nonimmigrant, a person born to a foreign diplomat in the United States, a V nonimmigrant or a widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen

II. Green Card Through a Job

  • Green Card Through a Job Offer: You may be eligible to become a permanent resident based on an offer of permanent employment in the United States. Most categories require an employer to get a labor certification and then file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, for you.
  • Green Card Through Investment: Green cards may be available to investors/entrepreneurs who are making an investment in an enterprise that creates new U.S. jobs.
  • Green Card Through Self Petition: Some immigrant categories allow you to file for yourself (“self-petition”). This option is available for either “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” or certain individuals granted a National Interest Waiver.
  • Green Card Through Special Categories of Jobs: There are a number of specialized jobs that may allow you to get a green card based on a past or current job.

III. Green Card Through Refugee or Asylee Status

  • If you were admitted to the United States a refugee or a qualifying family member of an asylee, then you may apply for permanent residence one (1) year after your entry in to the United States;
  • If you were granted asylum in the United States, then you may apply for permanent residence one (1) year after the grant of your asylum status.

Note: As a refugee, you are required by law to apply for permanent resident status 1 year after being admitted to the United States. As an asylee, you are not required to apply for permanent resident status after being granted asylum for 1 year, although it may be in your best interest to do so.

IV. Other Ways to Get a Green Card

  • Amerasian Child of a U.S. Citizen
  • American Indian Born in Canada
  • Armed Forces Member
  • cuban Native or Citizen
  • Diversity Immigrant Visa Program
  • Haitian Refugee
  • Help HAITI Act of 2010
  • Indochinese Parole Adjustment Act
  • Informant (S Nonimmigrant)
  • Lautenberg Parolee
  • Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act
  • Person Born to Foreign Diplomat in United States
  • Registry
  • Section 13 (Diplomat)
  • Victim of Criminal Activity (U Nonimmigrant)
  • Victim of Trafficking (T Nonimmigrant)

V. Qualifications

In order for a relative to sponsor you to immigrate to the United States, they must meet the following criteria:

  • They must be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and be able to provide documentation providing that status.
  • They must prove that they can support you at 125% above the mandated poverty line, by filling out an Affidavit of Support.

¹The information contained in this website is not legal advice but for general information purposes only. Please contact Attorney Truong for a consultation regarding your specific circumstances.