Ways to Get a Green Card or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)

Fork in the Road. You know your destination, or where you need to be, but are taking an unfamiliar path to get there. Suddenly you stop. “What now?” you ask yourself as you ponder the fork in the path. “Right or left?” “Will both paths lead to the same endpoint, or do they go in two different directions?” “Which one will take me to where I need to go?”

Similar to the literal “fork in the road” are the two paths that lead to the same treasure of Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), more commonly known as a Green Card. The path you will travel is predetermined by where you live and your current U.S. immigration status, or lack thereof. What does this mean? Simply put, there are two ways to get a greencard, and the path you need to take depends on your circumstance.

 Staring down that figurative fork, to the left is what is known as the Visa Processing or Consular Process. To the right, is Adjustment of Status. However, both processes require a petition to be filed on behalf of the immigrant.

Visa or Consular Process. The fancy words used to describe this process merely mean that part of the GreenCard petition/application is done in the home country of the immigrant at his or her local U.S. embassy or consulate office.

As mentioned above, the first step to LPR is that a petition is made on behalf of the immigrant. If approved, the petition will be sent to a National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will then issue a case number and send the petition to the local U.S. embassy or consulate office where the immigrant lives. Upon notification, the immigrant will apply for a visa at a specified U.S. embassy or consulate office. The approved application is followed by an in-person interview. Lastly, upon approval, the individual can come to the U.S. to claim Lawful Permanent Resident status.

 The Visa or Consular Process is generally for a person who lives outside the U.S. and is coming to the United States for the first time; although, this process may apply to an undocumented person[1] who lives in the U.S.

Adjustment of Status. If the above does not describe your situation, then you may be eligible for Adjustment of Status. This path to a Green Card generally applies to a person who has valid immigration status and is legally living in the U.S. In this case, after a petition is filed for the immigrant and approved, he or she can submit documents for LPR and attend an interview at a USCIS office in the U.S. In other words, the immigrant does not have to leave the U.S. in order to apply for a Green Card; everything can be done the U.S.

Still not sure which path to LPR you qualify for? If so, give us a call and let The Claro Law Firm help you. The Claro Law Firm serves Westchester County including Elmsford, Tarrytown and Yonkers, New York. New York immigration lawyer, Elisa Claro Esq. is waiting to help you with this difficult issue. Contact us today online or by phone at 917-300-3334.

[1] A person living in the U.S. with an expired visa or a person who entered the U.S. without inspection at a port of entry