Permanent Resident Status

Permanent Resident Status

A common way to obtain Lawful Permanent Resident Status (Green Card) is through a family member. Although there are many family members who can file a petition of support, the fastest way to obtain Lawful Permanent Resident Status is through a spouse. This means that while you are lawfully here in the U.S., you and your U.S. Citizen spouse get married. He or she then files a petition of support on your behalf and you file a petition for Adjustment of Status at the same time.

The benefit of filing for your green card in this manner is that there is no waiting period and you may stay in the country while the application with USCIS is pending. Spouses are considered "immediate relatives" of the U.S. Citizen petitioner. This means they do not fall into categories which require them to return to their home country and wait for a visa to become available. However, certain requirements must be met even for "immediate relatives" and you should contact an experienced New Port Richey, Florida immigration attorney to prevent an application from being denied.

First, you must be in the U.S. legally in order to qualify. This means you entered on valid visa or were inspected by an immigration officer at the border. However, there are circumstances where you may think you are here illegally and are not eligible for adjustment of status, but that may not be the case. For example, you may have crossed the border in a vehicle where the immigration officer asked the driver questions, but not you. If the car was then allowed into the country and you made no misrepresentations, you will most likely be considered "lawfully admitted" for purposes of a later petition to obtain Permanent Resident Status. There are many nuances to this law however, and that is why it is important to contact an immigration attorney from the outset.

Second, you must file a sworn affidavit of support which shows that you have an income above the U.S. poverty guidelines to support your spouse. However, if you cannot meet the poverty guidelines, you may be able to show sufficient assets which would satisfy this requirement.

There are several other requirements that must be met in order to have your petition approved, including a medical exam and multiple items of documentary proof. An experienced New Port Richey immigration attorney can guide you through the process and prevent unnecessary delays from taking place.