Green Cards

All the uncertainty in the US means that more people than ever are trying to ensure their residency. This can mean long wait times, and longer processing – especially if you make any mistakes during your immigration process.

One of the first questions clients ask us is: How Soon Can I Get My Green Card?

What are the fastest ways to get a Green Card in the US?

  1. Marriage – Well, Sure. The Number One Answer on the Board. It is quick. As long as it is real. And there are financial obligations to the government for the citizen applying for the immigrant spouse’s green card. Plus various other conditions. AND IT IS AVAILABLE TO GAY IMMIGRANTS MARRIED TO US CITIZENS TOO. Green card is typically about a year or so away. Just do not try to file papers yourself. Rules and regulations and caselaw change all the time. Get an expert immigration lawyer to guide you, please. We wrote more about gay marriage here.
  2. Asylum – When I started practicing immigration law in the mid-90s, political asylum was granted about 15% of the time. Today the numbers are around 50% or higher depending on various circumstances. You have to show well founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a social group. If you do not file within a year of entry into the United States, you better have a very good reason. But a green card may be available to you, if you have fled a dangerous country because you were afraid of severe mistreatment. Consult with an immigration attorney who has vast experience in political asylum cases before exploring this option to get a green card. AND BE CAREFUL OF FOLKS WHO TRY TO TALK YOU INTO ASYLUM APPLICATIONS BECAUSE THIS AREA HAS BEEN EXPLOITED BY MANY UNSCRUPULOUS INDIVIDUALS.
  3. Diversity Visa Lottery – 50,000 people, more or less, from certain nations, are able to acquire a green card through the visa lottery. Notable on the list are people with at least a high school diploma or skilled labor from nations on continents throughout the world. You can file an application easily enough but many intelligent immigrants avail themselves of a lottery-based green card with the assistance of top immigration lawyers. Be aware that some people run scams with the visa lottery.

These two immigrant visa preference categories have faster processing times

What is an immigrant visa preference category? U.S. immigration laws use specific preference categories to assign “immigrant visa numbers.” Immigrant visa numbers essentially assign your spot in the waiting line for a green card. The preferences are broken into two categories:

  1. Family Sponsored
  2. Employment Based

Family Sponsored Preference Categories

Spouses, children under 21 years of age, and parents of adult U.S. citizens are considered “immediate relatives” and as such are immediately eligible for immigrant visa numbers. They have the easiest path to a green card of any family members and typical waiting times are between a year or two.

Preference categories can be seen on the this website, which is constantly updated. There are also sub-preferences for China, India, Mexico and the Philippines. The visa bulletin lists family sponsored preference categories as follows:

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

  1. (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.
  2. (F2) Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:
  3. (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.
  4. (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

Employment sponsored preferences

  1. Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.
  2. Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.
  3. Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to “*Other Workers”.
  4. Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.
  5. Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers.

In ALL of the above cases these conditions can affect your ability to Get a Green Card Fast.

  • Trouble with Law Enforcement will interfere with the green card application process and might result in deportation.
  • Fraud is a no-no. Even innocent mistakes can be construed as deception. So be warned.
  • THERE ARE WAIVERS FOR CRIMINAL ACTS AND FRAUD.
  • We wrote about inadmissibility and deportability here.

Many other subtle issues can pop up throughout the green card process.

It’s important to know that even if you have received a notice of deportation, or put into detention, you can appeal the process!

Don’t be hasty or impulsive.

When you ask, “How Can I Get a Green Card Fast?” the top answer is:

Seek advice from the best immigration lawyer you can find.

Harlan York & Associates practices law in the areas of Immigration, Deportation Defense, Family Immigration, Corporate Immigration, Naturalization throughout Essex County – Hudson County – Morris County – Passaic County – Somerset County – Middlesex County – Bergen County – New Jersey -Immigration Lawyer – NJ Immigration Lawyer – Jersey City-Newark-Paterson Passaic Elizabeth Edison Woodbridge Toms River Hamilton Trenton Camden Clifton Passaic Garfield Wallington Cherry Hill East Orange Passaic Union City Bayonne Irvington Old Bridge Lakewood North Bergen Vineland Union Wayne Parsippany-Troy Hills New Brunswick Plainfield Bloomfield Perth Amboy East Brunswick West New York West Orange Hackensack Atlantic City Kearny Mount Laurel Montclair Essex Hoboken North Brunswick Belleville. In addition to serving clients in New York, Pennsylvania, the greater United States, and Internationally.

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Choosing the best immigration lawyer and the best immigration law firm can make all the difference in one’s life, in one’s family’s life. Choosing an immigration lawyer who is not very skilled, who is not experienced, who is not facile at dealing with the nuances of a body of law which is very different than other areas of law, and who is not familiar with the local climate, the regional and the national climate, and with the nuances of interfacing with a variety of authorities and organizations unique to the attorney’s specialty, can destroy one’s life, and can destroy the life of one’s family. We should know. We have seen the best of immigration lawyers, and the worst of immigration lawyers. If a doctor is incompetent and hurts someone, the effects on the patient can be devastating. If an immigration lawyer is incompetent, someone – and their family – can be terribly hurt, and the effects can be, in some ways, nearly as devastating, if not even worse. Before we became a couple, before we got married, and before we started a family, one of us had been dragged through the coals, dragged through the mud – and worse – for many years. Arriving to the U.S. under innocent circumstances at a young age, and then attempting to stay legally, our case – we refer to this as ours now, although initially only one of us was affected, along with several family members – was miserably mismanaged by an attorney who did not possess those skills, those experiences, that knowledge, which if he had possessed, could have led in the shorter term to a very different outcome. Years of stress, of family disruption, of fear, ensued. Incarceration of an innocent individual. Deportation. Disruption of the family unit. Children without one of their parents. Years of legal proceedings, legal wrangling, motion after motion filed, hearing after hearing, all to no avail. Small fortunes spent and wasted. Nights of worrying. Years of worrying. And no one was a criminal, no one had hurt anyone. Hard working folks, contributing to society in many ways. Tax paying professionals. Members of the community. Further legitimate attempts failed for a variety of unfortunate reasons much of which was related to inadequate legal advice. Mistake on top of mistake, compounding and worsening. More time, more money, wasted. More major stress. To make a very, very long story (you should see height of the legal files – quote, with issues beyond even a challenging law school study case) very, very short, we were referred to Harlan York and Associates. Mr. York examined our detailed, complex, tortuous, and difficult history, made recommendations, and shared his extensive legal as well as practical real-world experience, and we began the process with him and his colleagues of making the wrongs right. In conjunction with his outstanding, more junior colleague Riki King, they relatively rapidly navigated us through the path to Green Card status. 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When you need a lung cancer removed, you don’t go to a dermatologist or a family doctor, you go to a chest surgeon, and ideally one who takes out a lot of lung tumors, and who is good at it. You also don’t go to a general or other surgeon who dabbles in lung cancer surgery but whose focus is primarily elsewhere. You don’t go to a surgeon with a poor track record. When you have an immigration problem, you should consult with an experienced, ethical, immigration lawyer, one with a good track record. One who knows far more than what they teach about this focused topic in law school. One who doesn’t dabble in immigration law, while also closing real estate deals, finalizing wills, and negotiating divorces. One who is laser focused and knows how the current system works (and doesn’t work). 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