Milwaukee Immigration Lawyer

Legal Permanent Residency  - Milwaukee Immigration Lawyer

Are you trying to get a United States green card? When you hire a Milwaukee immigration lawyer to help you get a green card, you should receive information on the best option for you to obtain permanent residency. Indeed, your lawyer should inform you of all your options and keep you informed on the status of your case.

We can help you get a green card

Our Milwaukee immigration attorneys are proud to be part of the immigration process for anyone wanting to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States. We appreciate, in particular, that getting a green card is the holy grail of immigration. Specifically, your green card gives you the right to live and work in the US permanently. Furthermore, permanent residency in the United States provides opportunities to build upon personal and financial ambitions and take part in the American dream for you and your family. Contact a Milwaukee immigration lawyer to find out if you, a loved one, or a potential employee, is eligible to immigrate to the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

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FAQ: Obtaining Lawful Permanent Residency in the United States

  • What are the possible bases to become a permanent resident (LPR) in the United States?
  • What are the steps to obtaining a Green Card?
  • How do I renew my Green Card?
  • Can I replace my Green Card?
  • How can I remove conditions on my permanent residency?
  • What do I need to know about travelling outside the US as a green card holder?
  • Can I become a permanent resident if I am already in the United States or do I have to apply from abroad?

How to become a legal permanent resident (LPR) in the United States:

What are the possible bases to obtain a United States green card?
Family based immigration options

Family sponsored immigration petitions must be filed by a relative who is a US citizen or legal permanent resident. In particular, your relative must file your immigrant visa petition using an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative form.  Eligible family members who can petition for you to get a green card include the following:

  • a fiancé(e) or spouse of a US citizen
  • children or step-children of a US citizen
  • parents or siblings of a US citizen age 21 or over
  • a spouse or unmarried children of a green card holder
Employment based immigration options

An employer must generally file work sponsored immigration visa petitions. Specifically, your employer files for you to obtain an employment based immigrant visa to the United States using an I-140, Petition for Alien Worker form.  However, entrepreneurs can file for themselves if they plan to make a significant financial investment in a business venture. An immigrant investor files a US immigration petition using form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur form.  

Special Immigrants or Humanitarian based immigration options

The following special immigrant or a humanitarian immigration visas are available for qualified applicants:

  • Afghan or Iraqi nationals who supported the U.S. Armed Forces as a translator
  • Amerasians
  • American Indian Born in Canada
  • Amnesty under INA 245A for certain illegal aliens who entered before 1982
  • Armed Forces Member
  • Asylum 
  • Broadcaster
  • Crime Victims
  • Cuban Native or Citizen
  • Diversity Lottery
  • Foreign Diplomat or Child Born in the US to a foreign diplomat
  • Haitian Refugee
  • Indochinese Refugee (certain individuals from Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos)
  • International Organization Employee, Spouse and Children
  • Iraqi who assisted the US Government in Iraq
  • Juvenile Court Dependent
  • Lautenberg Parolee (certain individuals from the former Soviet Union, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)
  • Law Enforcement Witness or Informant
  • NACARA (certain individuals from Guatemala, El Salvador, and former Soviet Union)
  • NATO employees, spouses and children
  • Panama Canal Company Employees, Canal Zone Government employee, U.S. Government in the Canal Zone employee
  • Physician
  • Refugee
  • Registry (certain individuals present in the US since 1972)
  • Religious Worker
  • Victim of domestic violence​ who is the spouse or child of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
  • Victim of Human Trafficking
  • Widow or widower of deceased U.S. citizen
What are the steps to obtain a Green Card?

The process for obtaining lawful permanent residency in the United States varies based on whether you currently live in a foreign country or within the United States, and depending on your eligibility category.    For information on obtaining a green card:

Do I need to renew my Green Card?

Permanent residency is granted for a term of 10 years, renewable thereafter.  Consider when to renew your green card according to the following:

  •  If you are a permanent resident without conditions you may renew your green card at any time within 6 months of the expiration date if you are in the United States.  
  • However, if you are permanent resident without conditions and you are planning to leave the United States within 6 months of the expiration of your green card you should apply to renew it before you leave.  
  • Similarly, if you are a permanent resident without conditions and you are outside the United States for less than a year and you will return before your green card expires, then you should renew your green card upon your return.  
  • Finally, if you are a conditional permanent resident and your status is expiring, you should file a Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence.
What should I do if I lost my green card?

You must replace your green card if you lose it.  According to federal law, every alien in the United States over age 18 is required to carry a certificate of alien registration at all times. In particular, your certificate of alien registration is commonly called your green card or permanent resident card. In fact, failure to have your green card in your personal possession at all times is a misdemeanor criminal offense. Specifically, conviction for this offense can subject you to 30 days in jail or up to a $100 fine.  See 8 U.S.C. § 1304 (e) for more information.  A lost, stolen, mutilated or destroyed green card of a permanent or conditional permanent resident may be replaced using form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.

How can I remove conditions on my permanent residency?

A conditional permanent resident is someone who receives a green card for 2 years.  To eliminate the conditional status, a conditional permanent resident needs to file a petition to remove the condition. You should file your petition to remove the conditions on your permanent residence within 90 days prior to the expiration of the conditional green card. Generally, the form to remove the conditional status of your green card is form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence. However, some applicants need to file using form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions.  A conditional permanent resident who does not petition to remove the conditions during the 90 days before the card expires can lose permanent resident status. Loss of permanent resident status can subject you to removal.  

What do I need to know about travelling outside the US as a green card holder?

When you re-enter the United States after travelling abroad as a US permanent resident you must present a valid, unexpired, permanent resident (green) card at the port of entry, along with your other identification documents.  Permanent residents are able to travel abroad as desired. However if a permanent resident remains outside of the United States for for longer than 1 year they may be found to have abandoned their US permanent residency.  A finding of abandonment may be found after trips outside the United States that last less than one year if it is believed that you did not intend to maintain permanent residence in the United States. A belief that you did not intend to maintain permanent residency may be based on considerations of your connections to the United States that you did or did not maintain during your absence.  

If you plan to remain outside the United States for 1 year or longer, but less than 2 years, it is best to apply for a re-entry permit prior to leaving.  The re-entry permit will not be valid for more than 2 years. However, a returning resident (SB-1) visa may be obtained by filing an Application to Determine Returning Resident Status at a US embassy or consulate.  Please note that travel outside of the United States for 6 months or more, while allowed, may disrupt the continuous residency requirement for naturalization.  

If you plan to travel outside the US for 6 months or longer, you should talk with a Milwaukee immigration lawyer and consider filing an Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization.  

Can I become a permanent resident if I am already in the United States or do I have to apply from abroad?

Yes, it is possible adjust your status and obtain permanent residency from within the United States in some circumstances.  Please see the information on adjustment of status or contact us to determine your eligibility for a getting a green card from within the United States.  

In conclusion, contact a Milwaukee immigration lawyer to assist you with any of your United States immigration law needs today. You could also check out our areas of practice to see all the ways our law firm can assist you.