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What steps are necessary to pursue a green card?

Texas residents who are looking to change their legal immigration status may not fully understand the rules and requirements for obtaining legal status. Immigration law can be very complicated, especially for those who are seeking a green card for the first time. The steps for obtaining a green card require preparation and care, so it is important to understand exactly what is required to obtain a change in legal status.

What is the first step toward changing your legal status? First, you must be deemed eligible to have your status adjusted. That means that you usually must have entered the U.S. legally, though there are some exceptions. Immigrants may be eligible for a change in status because of their family, employment or even a humanitarian program.

What happens next? In most cases, an employer or relative must file an immigration petition on the subject's behalf. Some individuals are allowed to file their own petition while they are submitting other legal forms related to permanent residence.

What types of immigration petitions exist? People can gain legal status through their employer or a family member. Some special classes do exist, but most immigrants fall into those two categories. Humanitarian programs also help Texas immigrants obtain legal status.

After you have submitted your petition, you must determine whether a visa will be available for you during the next calendar year. Only a limited number of visas are available at any given time. Then you submit an application to adjust your status or register permanent residency along with a photograph and record of your fingerprints. An interview may also be required.

Do you think this process sounds complicated? It definitely can be. Your best ally during an immigration proceeding in Texas is an experienced immigration attorney. Taking the time to file your paperwork in the appropriate fashion can help you increase the likelihood of receiving your green card or immigration petition approval.

Source: FindLaw, "Adjustment of Status to Stay in the U.S." Sep. 09, 2014

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