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Pursuing a green card can be a long, complex process, and only certain individuals may qualify for permanent residency. Falling into a category can make your application possible, but you still must get one of the limited number of visas available.

Even in cases where you can apply, there may be challenges within the process. Applying for legal permanent residency (LPR) status in St. Louis can be made easier if you have the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney. A green card lawyer in St. Louis could take the time you need to discuss your legal rights and options, as well as answer all of your questions.

Understanding Lawful Permanent Residency Status

The path to becoming an American citizen often begins with lawful permanent residency status. If an individual obtains lawful residency, they are on the road to citizenship, although there are some challenges that could still threaten their ability to become a citizen. For instance, committing a crime that warrants deportation typically ends lawful residency status and prevents individuals from becoming citizens. People often refer to legal permanent residency as a “green card.” To discuss all of the benefits of applying for a green card, consult a St. Louis lawyer.

Who Can Apply for Legal Permanent Residency?

Only certain people can apply for a green card. Even if a person does fit into a category, they will have to get one of a limited number of visas. A skilled immigration attorney could determine if a particular individual can apply for a green card based on the circumstances of their case.

Immediate Relatives

One pathway to immigration is through immediate family members. For the purposes of LPR status, immediate family members may include a US citizen’s children and stepchildren under 21 years old, spouse, and adopted children, as long as they were under sixteen at the time of the adoption. This category of green cards does not face annual limits. Anyone who qualifies can apply.

Preference Relatives

Each year, many relatives qualify for a green card even though they are not immediate family members for the purposes of the law. The limited number of visas for individuals in these categories means that they may face a longr wait.

Preference for these visas goes to US citizens’ unmarried children over 21 years old. The spouses and unmarried children of legal permanent residents come next, followed by the children of US citizens who are married. The final preference of this category are the siblings of citizens.

Employment-Based Visas

Some individuals who are applying for LPR status qualify for a greend card based on their work-related skills. The idea of these visas is that they should go to individuals with skills that employers cannot find within the pool of job applicants in the US. Preference goes to individuals who have extraordinary skills in their fields.

The Lottery Visas

Lottery visas are difficult to come by and only available to countries that send few immigrants to the United States. Millions of people apply for these visas each year even though the odds of obtaining one are remote.

Hire a St. Louis Lawyer for Help Applying for a Legal Permanent Residency Status

Deciding to pursue a green card is only the start of a long process. Becoming a citizen is often a challenge and might be highly stressful. If you are applying for legal permanent residency status in St. Louis, you should contact an immigration attorney at Hacking Law Practice, LLC. An attorney from our firm could walk you through the steps you must take as a part of this visa application process.

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