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We can request for the deportation order to be waived if there is evidence that you will face torture in your home country.

Green Card Process and Green Card Timeline

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Green Card Process Explained

What is a Green Card?

A “Green Card” is a card issued by the US Immigration Service that allows certain immigrants to live and work in the United States permanently. Green card holders may also be referred to as a “Legal Permanent Resident,” “Permanent Resident” or “LPR” for short. The card issued by the US Immigration Service is no longer green but the term “Green Card” has been used to describe the card for so long that the name has stuck.

Benefits of a Green Card

A Green Card conveys many benefits to the immigrant holder. It allows them to work, travel within the US and collect most US government benefits among other things. Perhaps the biggest benefits of being a Green Card holder is that after 5 years, immigrants may apply to become a naturalized US Citizen.

Restrictions of a Green Card

There are several restrictions that Green Card holders must be aware of to avoid running into problems. For example, it is illegal for Green Card holders to vote in any American elections. Immigrants must also obey the laws of the United States. Even a relatively minor criminal conviction may result in deportation. There are also certain foreign travel restrictions that every Green Card holder must follow.

Green Card Process

The Green Card process is not an easy or quick one in most cases. An experienced New Jersey immigration attorney can certainly make things move faster by avoiding the common mistakes that immigrants make when they go it alone.

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Who Can Get a Green Card?

The answer to this is just about anyone can get a Green Card if they are not barred from re-entry or do not qualify as a matter of law providing they are sponsored by a close family member or employer or fall into a couple of other classes. For example, someone with a criminal record, someone who is associated with a terrorist group or someone who has been deported from the US previously and is currently not allowed to re-enter the United States, would not be granted a Green Card. However, to apply for a Green Card, you will need to be one of the following:

  • Sponsored by a close family member in the US who is either a citizen or has legal status (family-based immigration).
  • Sponsored by an employer (employment-based immigration).
  • Winner of the Diversity Lottery
  • Be a qualified Alien Entrepreneur
  • Be granted Asylum
  • Be granted Refugee status
  • Or through “The Registry” provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act

Phases of the Green Card Process

Every case is a little different and the Green Card process will vary based on the how you may qualify but, in general the process can be broken down into the following phases:

The Immigration Petition

An immigration petition is filed by a family member, employer or, in some cases, the immigrant themselves. The most common immigration petitions are the I-140 for employment-based immigration petitions or the I-130 for family-based immigration petitions. Each immigration petition requires several other supporting forms and documents to complete the immigration petition package. The immigration petition package is then submitted to a designated processing center where it is evaluated. Anything that is missing or incomplete will cause delays in the Green Card process or outright denial of the Green Card.

Immigrant Visa Availability

If the Green Card is approved, immigrant will often not be issued a Green Card or Legal Permanent Resident status immediately. This is because most categories of Green Cards are subject to quotas and restrictions. After the immigration petition has been granted, it is sent to the National Visa Center where it will wait until a visa number for the particular immigration petition becomes available. Visa numbers are issued according to the current priority date for the immigrant.

Adjustment of Status

On the priority date, a visa number is issued and the immigrant may submit a request to adjust their status to Legal Permanent Resident if they are currently in the US. If they are outside of the United States, the immigrant will need to go to the US Consulate or US Embassy in their country to apply for an immigrant visa.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Green Card

Depending on the type of immigration petition and the circumstances of the immigrant the amount of time the become a Legal Permanent Resident varies. It may range from several months to several years. It may involve a number of other steps not described here. Please take a look at each type of immigration petition that you are most interested in for more information, or contact us, we are happy to discuss your options.

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"I didn’t know I could get documents… that there was help out there…Andres Mejer Law made me feel comfortable to trust them with my whole life."

new jersey immigration attorney

"Mr. Quiyu was able to successfully petition for a green card for himself and his wife through the help of Andres Mejer."

new jersey immigration attorney

"Ms. Cartagena successfully filed her VAWA petition. As a result, she was able to live without the fear of deportation or losing her kids."

Still have questions about Green Cards or becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident?

What Are You Waiting For?

People often put off seeing a doctor until it is too late. The same is true when it comes to immigration. Immigration problems often get worse with time, not better. You’re risking your family, your freedom and all that you work so hard for by not getting the care you need. You can find out right now if you may already qualify for legal status in the US. Just click below or call the Green Card to schedule a comprehensive immigration exam. It is free, so what are you waiting for?

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Your privacy is important to us. We will keep the information you provide strictly confidential. We only use your information to determine if you may be eligible for immigration benefits in the United States. The information we provide should not be construed as legal advice and submission of this form does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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Información Personal / Personal Information


Idioma Preferido*

Preferred Language

Fecha Nacimiento*

Date of Birth

Pais de Nacimiento*

Country of Birth

Entradas a las EEUU / Entries into the US


Fecha Entrada*

Date of Entry

Entrada Legal*

Did you enter legally?



¿Tiene usted padres, conyuge o hijos mayores de 21 anos,Que ha estado o esta en las fuerzas armadas Americanas?*

Do you have a parent, spouse, or child over 21 who is or was in the US military?

¿Tiene usted padres,conyuge o hijos mayores de 21 anos, ciudadanos Americanos o residentes permanentes?*

Do you have a parent, spouse, or child over 21 who is a US citizen or lawful permanent resident?

¿Ha tenido usted, sus padres o sus abuelos un estado legal en los EEUU?*

Did you, your parents, or your grandparents ever have legal status in the U.S.?

¿Esta considerando matrimonio con us ciudadano Americano o residente permanente? ( mismo sexo incluido)*

Are you considering marriage to a US citizen or green card holder (same-sex marriage included)?



¿Alguien ha peticionado a su favor por motivos de inmigración?*

Has anyone ever filed an immigration petition for you before?

¿Ha sido usted deportado o esta usted en procedimiento de deportación ahora?*

Have you ever been deported or are you in deportation proceedings now?

Ha sido abusado por sus padres, conyuge o hijo mayor de edad?*

Has your parent, spouse, or adult child been abusive to you?

¿Si es asi, fue previo a Abril 30 del 2001?*

If so, was it before April 30, 2001?



¿Fue usted, conyuge, sus padres, pareja o sus hijos victimas de de un crimen violento en los EEUU?*

Were you, your parents, siblings, spouse, partner, or children a victim of a violent crime in the US?

¿Es usted menor de 21 años y soltero?*

Are you under 21 and not married?

¿Tiene usted un padre, conyuge o hijo menor de 15 anos con requerimientos especiales médicos (dificultades de estudio, alergias severas, asma u otra condición medica severa)?*

Do you have a parent, spouse, or child under 15 with medical or special needs (learning disability, severe allergies or asthma, or other serious medical condition)?

¿Fue usted maltratado, abusado o abandonado por sus padres?*

Did your parents mistreat, abuse, or abandon you?



¿Tenia usted 30 anos o menos en Junio, 15, 2012?*

Were you 30 years or under on June 15, 2012?

¿Tenía usted 15 años o menos en su primera entrada en los EEUU?*

Were you 15 years old or younger on your first entry into the US?

Click below now to see if you qualify!

¡Haga clic abajo ahora para ver si califica!

Free Deportation Risk Assessment

Where you ever caught at by immigration and returned to your country? (¿Dónde alguna vez te pilló inmigrando y regresaste a tu país?)*

Have you ever been arrested for any reason? (¿Alguna vez te han arrestado por alguna razón?)*

How many times have been arrested? (¿Cuántas veces han sido arrestados?)*

Were you arrested for any of the following reasons? (Check all that apply) (¿Te arrestaron por alguna de las siguientes razones?)

Have you ever filed for an immigration benefit and been denied? (¿Alguna vez ha presentado un beneficio de inmigración y se le ha negado?)*

Have you entered the US illegally more than once after 1997? (¿Ha entrado ilegalmente en los Estados Unidos más de una vez después de 1997?)*

Do you owe back child support? (¿Debes manutención infantil?)*

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