For many individuals, securing a Green Card represents the realization of a long-held dream and the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. Read on to learn more about how you can obtain a green card here in the United States and how a skilled Lancaster immigration lawyer from Lupton Law can help you through the process. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What Are the Different Paths to Obtaining a Green Card?

There are several paths to obtaining a Green Card, each with its own set of requirements and procedures. The most common categories include family-based Green Cards, employment-based Green Cards, and humanitarian programs.

Family-based Green Cards are available to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. This category includes spouses, children, parents, and siblings. Employment-based Green Cards are for individuals who have job offers in the United States or possess extraordinary abilities in fields such as science, arts, education, business, or athletics. Humanitarian programs provide Green Cards to refugees, asylees, and individuals under special circumstances, such as victims of human trafficking or crime.

Family-based Green Cards often require the sponsoring relative to file a petition on behalf of the applicant. The process may differ depending on whether the sponsor is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. Employment-based Green Cards, on the other hand, typically require the employer to sponsor the applicant. This may involve a labor certification process to prove that hiring the foreign worker will not negatively impact the U.S. labor market. Humanitarian programs have their unique procedures and eligibility criteria, which can be complex and require competent legal guidance.

How Long Does the Green Card Process Take?

The time it takes to obtain a Green Card varies significantly based on several factors, including the category of the Green Card, the applicant’s country of origin, and the current backlog of applications. Family-based Green Cards for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens usually have shorter waiting times compared to other family categories. For instance, spouses and unmarried children under 21 of U.S. citizens often face less waiting time compared to siblings or married children.

Employment-based Green Cards have different preference categories, with some requiring longer processing times than others. For example, individuals with extraordinary abilities or those with advanced degrees may experience shorter wait times than those applying under categories that require labor certification. Additionally, applicants from countries with high demand for Green Cards, such as India and China, often face longer wait times due to annual numerical limits on visas issued to each country.

Applicants must also consider the time needed to gather and submit required documentation, attend interviews, and complete medical examinations. Each step in the process can add weeks or months to the overall timeline. Working with an experienced immigration attorney can help applicants navigate these steps efficiently and avoid unnecessary delays.

If you have further questions about how to get a green card here in the United States, please don’t hesitate to contact Lupton Law, LLC today so we can get started working on your case.