While legal permanent residents of the United States are not granted all the same rights as citizens, pursuing legal residency status in the form of a green card can be an essential first step toward living in the country long-term and potentially becoming a naturalized citizen in the future. However, the process of achieving this status is not a simple one, and not everyone may be eligible to apply.

If you are interested in applying for legal permanent resident (LPR) status in San Diego, you should seek help from a qualified immigration attorney at Hacking Immigration Law, LLC. Once retained, one of our seasoned lawyers could help you determine whether you meet the eligibility requirements and, if so, guide you through every step of the application process.

Eligibility to Pursue Legal Permanent Residency

To obtain legal permanent residency in the United States, a prospective immigrant typically must be sponsored by someone already living in the country as a citizen or LPR. In most circumstances, the sponsoring party must either be someone who intends to employ the prospective immigrant, or an immediate family member—meaning a spouse, parent, adult child, or sibling.

In other cases, though, a person may be able to apply for legal permanent residency status in San Diego through a number of different refugee, asylum, or diversity visa programs. In addition, anyone who has continuously lived in the United States since prior to 1972 may be able to register for a green card if they meet certain additional criteria.

Steps in the Application Process

The specific application process a person must go through to achieve LPR status varies depending on whether they are already inside the United States at the time of application. A person outside the U.S. must go through consular processing with the U.S. Department of State, which requires working with the National Visa Center and the U.S. embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country of origin.

Conversely, if an LPR applicant is already inside the United States, they would instead pursue what is known as an adjustment of status, which requires filing both an immigrant petition—or continuing one that has already been filed—as well as filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Instead of interviews at an embassy or consulate, this process may require an applicant to undergo biometric screening at an Application Support Center and potentially attend an interview at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office.

Regardless of which path an individual must take, applying to be a legal permanent resident involves a great deal of paperwork and a number of different procedures, all of which must be completed thoroughly and accurately for an application to go through. Working with seasoned legal counsel to ensure compliance with all USCIS regulations is highly encouraged for anyone seeking LPR status.

A San Diego Attorney Could Help Apply for LPR Status

Whether you are already in the United States, seeking to immigrate here in the near future, or want to sponsor a family member or new employee entering the country, legal permanent residence application procedures can be confusing and overwhelming. These cases can take a long time to process, and any small inconsistency or mistake made while the process is ongoing could result in the denial of your application.

Therefore, applying for legal permanent resident status in San Diego is not something anyone should try to manage all by themselves. To schedule a consultation and discuss the possibilities in your situation, call an attorney from our team today.