For many people, a green card is a way of obtaining economic freedom and the start of a new life in the United States. However, seeking legal permanent residency status in the United States can be difficult, especially if you are unfamiliar with how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) typically handles and processes these applications.

If you need help working this process to become a legal permanent resident, you should work with a seasoned San Diego green card lawyer. With guidance and support from a dedicated immigration attorney at Hacking Immigration Law, LLC, you should be able to pursue your green card more effectively and efficiently.

Rights and Responsibilities of Green Card Holders

A green card holder is considered a legal permanent resident of the United States, meaning they can live and work indefinitely within the country’s borders while protected by —and the requirement to adhere to—federal and state law. As a resident of the United States, these immigrants also must file income tax returns and register for the draft in some cases.

It is important to note that a legal permanent resident is not a citizen, so these individuals cannot legally vote or participate in certain other civic duties. In addition, USCIS has the authority to revoke a green card if they believe the holder has “abandoned” their U.S. residence by making a declaration of such intentions or leaving the U.S. for longer than a year without a clear intent to return. A knowledgeable San Diego lawyer could further clarify what is expected of green card holders once they receive legal permanent resident status.

Acquiring a Green Card in San Diego

In most cases, obtaining a green card requires sponsorship from a current U.S. resident who either has a direct familial relationship with the applicant or intends to employ the immigrant. Green cards may also be available under unique circumstances for refugees and asylees fleeing dangerous conditions, as well as recipients of diversity visas.

Depending on the circumstances, both U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents may sponsor certain immediate family members who want to apply for a green card. U.S. citizens can generally bring their spouse, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and parents into the United States as immediate relatives, while legal permanent residents must deal with a family preference system, which can significantly prolong the application process.

Finally, employers can sponsor individuals with extremely notable skills, advanced degrees, or who can otherwise fill a role in the employer’s company that a domestic employee could not. A local attorney could provide assistance to both individuals seeking green cards and current U.S. residents seeking to sponsor a prospective immigrant.

Speak with a San Diego Green Card Attorney Today

While a green card does allow you to live and work in the United States for as long as you wish to reside in the country, obtaining one can often be a complicated and emotionally draining endeavor. You may have to jump through a lot of procedural hoops to have your legal permanent resident status affirmed, and small missteps along the way could prevent you from receiving an accepted application.

Fortunately, help is available from a qualified San Diego greed card lawyer for anyone who wants to establish legal permanent residence in the United States. Call today to set up a consultation and start discussing the options available to you.