If you are applying for Legal Permanent Resident status (LPR) in Oak Brook, it is helpful to understand basic information about United States visas, the qualifications and procedures involved, annual quotas and preferences, and necessary documentation.
You will be working with at least two federal government agencies, the Department of Homeland Security’s office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and the National Visa Center of the U.S. State Department. It is important to make certain that the information submitted is accurate, complete, properly formatted, and complies with all deadlines. To ensure that requirements are fulfilled, many applicants choose to work with a credible green card attorney.
Does Legal Permanent Resident Status Equal a Green Card?
Years ago, the identification cards issued to foreign nationals who obtained status as legal permanent residents (LPRs) were green, so the process of obtaining LPR status was equated with gaining a “Green Card.” In fact, the U.S. government still uses the term on occasion even though the identification cards are not always green.
Having status as an LPR gives immigrants the right to legally live and work in the U.S. A foreign national may obtain LPR status in numerous ways. Although most applicants are sponsored by either an employer or a family member in the U.S., some become LPRs through humanitarian programs as refugees or those granted asylum or other relief.
Eligibility Requirements for Legal Permanent Resident Status
To obtain LPR status, a person must obtain an immigrant visa. Requirements for eligibility to become an LPR vary according to the immigrant category involved. Depending on the circumstances, an applicant may be able to qualify based on status as a:
- Family member of a U.S. citizen
- Immediate family member of an LPR
- Employee with a job offer from a qualified employer
- Worker with extraordinary skills
- Investor creating jobs in the U.S.
- Person granted asylum or admitted as a refugee at least one year ago
- Victim of certain crimes, abuse or neglect
- Immigrant who fits a specialized category
Within each of the immigrant categories, there are certain requirements and preference levels. The U.S. grants a limited number of visas in each category every year, with the exception of immigration visas granted to immediate family members of U.S. citizens, which are not limited.
In addition to limits on categories, there are also limits placed on the percentage of visas granted to those applying from particular countries. Therefore, it is important to establish qualifications to demonstrate the applicants are from the highest possible preference category in order the improve the chances of obtaining a visa quickly.
What is the Overall Process of Applying for LPR Status in Oak Brook?
When applying for Legal Permanent Resident status (LPR) in Oak Brook, most applicants must have a sponsor connected to the category for which they are applying. Those applying for a family-based visa are usually sponsored by a family member, while those applying for an employment-based visa usually receive sponsorship from their employer.
That sponsor first files an immigration petition on behalf of the person seeking a visa. The petition is filed with USCIS, and once the petition is approved, in most cases the agency forwards it to the National Visa Center for processing. After the preliminary checks are complete, the applicant will be asked for documentation and required to pay fees.
Part of the process will include a medical examination, fingerprinting, and other procedures. The final component is an interview to determine whether the applicant is a suitable candidate for immigration.
Assistance with Applying for Legal Permanent Resident Status in Oak Brook
USCIS has field offices throughout the country where visa applicants may seek assistance. However, because USCIS is only involved in the petition portion of a visa application, those applying for Legal Permanent Resident status (LPR) in Oak Brook often seek help from an experienced immigration lawyer.