Some people living in Colorado as immigrants waited years to enter the United States. If you are currently trying to navigate the process to obtain a green card, you may find that, some days, you have more questions than answers. As with most U.S. immigration law topics, applying for a green card can be quite complicated and overwhelming. To begin with, not everyone is eligible for non-citizen permanent residency. Beyond knowing that green cards are called such because of their color, you may lack information needed to apply.
There are many support networks available for someone in your situation. Knowing where to turn for help is often half the battle won. Consequently, there are also a lot of scams where people try to take advantage of immigrants like you by promising to expedite the green card application process or secure a visa for payment. While there are typically fees involved in such processes, you should be wary as such fees would be part of the application process and not requested from a particular individual.
How to know if you're eligible for green card status
Since there are so many types of visas, you want to make sure you are pursuing the appropriate one to suit your immediate needs and long-term immigration goals. The following list explains green card eligibility requirements:
- If one of your immediate family members is already a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency via a green card.
- In such a case, your relative must petition the court on your behalf to obtain a green card.
- The law defines eligible immediate family members as spouses, unmarried children under age 21 (at least one parent must be a U.S. citizen) or a parent of a child who is age 21 or over and is a U.S. citizen.
- In some situations, stepchildren would also qualify if the parents' marriage took place before the children reached age 18.
- Approximately 140,000 skilled workers also enter the United States each year by obtaining green cards. Your prospective employer would need to prove that he or she recruited you for the open position after determining no U.S. workers were available to fill the slot.
There is a preference system in place for those seeking green cards that are employment based. First priority goes to those with unique, advanced skills, education or talents. For instance, if you are a successful athlete, professor or global company executive, you may qualify under these terms.
When in doubt, ask questions and know that there is help available to you. Many Colorado immigrants began their journeys by consulting with experienced immigration and naturalization law attorneys ahead of time. This is often a means to prevent legal trouble and overcome any obstacles that arise in the green card process.