The Process of Getting a Green Card in NY
We can assist employers, employees and family members in New York and New Jersey
Lawful permanent residency in the United States — evidenced by a green card — affords rights and privileges second only to those of U.S. citizens. Not surprisingly, the process of getting a green card is complex. In most cases, green card beneficiaries must coordinate with a domestic family member or employer who serves as his or her sponsor and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and in some cases, the Department of State. Our attorneys at Bretz & Coven, LLP have assisted individuals and employers throughout the United States in effectively navigating this process and understanding the requirements and avoiding the common pitfalls that can lead to delay or denial.
The green card process for family members
Obtaining a green card for a family member requires action by both sponsor and beneficiary. A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who wishes to sponsor a qualifying family member must file a Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with U.S. Citizenships and Immigration Services and pay a $420 filing fee. The beneficiary must also both concurrently or subsequently, file a Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status and pay a fee of $1,070. Once both documents are accepted and approved, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issues a green card based on the applicable preference category:
- Spouses, unmarried children younger than 21 and parents of U.S. citizens can receive a green card immediately upon approval.
- Unmarried children over 21, married children, and brothers and sisters must wait to receive one of the limited numbers of visas issued each year.
- Spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents must wait even longer, as even fewer visas of this type are available.
Green card preferences for immigrant workers
To obtain a green card based on employment, an employer in the United States must file a Form I-140 Immigration Petition for Alien Worker and pay a filing fee of $580. In many cases, the employers must also obtain a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. There are approximately 140,000 immigrant worker visas available every year, allocated among five different preference categories:
- EB-1 — Persons of extraordinary ability
- EB-2 — Professionals and those with advanced degrees
- EB-3 — Skilled workers requiring a bachelor’s degree
- EB-4 — Religious workers and other special categories
- EB-5 — Business investors
Once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approve the employer’s Form I-140, the employee may apply for an appropriate visa at a U.S. consulate. It is important to note that U.S. immigration law also provides for numerous special green card programs, such as those for refugees, asylees or victims of domestic violence. An experienced NY immigration lawyer can advise you of these programs and his or her requirements.
Contact us for help obtaining lawful permanent residency in the United States
Bretz & Coven, LLP attorneys have provided assistance with the green card process to employers and families throughout the United States. Contact our experienced immigration lawyers in New York City today at 1 (212) 267-2555 or online for creative solutions to your complex immigration problems. For an office appointment in Metro Park, New Jersey, call 1 (732) 313-0075.