Green Card
(Lawful Permanent Resident)

Get a Green Card and become a Lawful Permanent Resident

Should I apply for a United States Green Card?

Each year in the United States, thousands of foreign nationals become U.S Green Card holders. Having a Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) is required before applying to become a U.S naturalized citizen. Do you want to work and live in the United States permanently?

Am I Eligible for a U.S Green Card (Permanent Resident Card)?

  • Category 1: Green Card by Family - Are you the immediate relative (spouse, child, parent) of a U.S citizen? If so, you may qualify by family. Other family members may qualify in preference categories.

  • Category 2: By Employment - Are you an immigrant worker that meets one of the five preference types (see details below) sought by the United States? If so, you may qualify by Employment.

Five Worker Preference types that lead to U.S Lawful Permanent Resident eligibility

  • Preference 1: Preference is given to a person with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or you are an outstanding professor or researcher, or you are a multinational manager or executive who meets certain criteria.
  • Preference 2: If you are a member of a profession that requires an advanced degree, or you have exceptional abilities in the sciences, arts, or business, or you are seeking a national interest waiver..

  • Preference 3: Are you a skilled worker (your job required at least two years of educational training), or you are a professional (your job required a U.S bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent), and you are working in your degree field, or you are an unskilled worker (your job requires less than two years of training)?

  • Preference 4: Physicians who plan to work full-time in a clinical field.

  • Preference 5: You are a foreign investor looking to at least $1 million in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. This investment must create at least ten new U.S jobs.

Your immigration lawyer will help you determine if you meet any of the preference types listed above. If so, you can apply based on employment. If not, review a different eligibility option.

Green Card Category Types 3-5

  • Category 3: Special Immigrant – Are you a member of a religious denomination coming to the U.S. to work for a nonprofit religious organization, or a juvenile who needs the protection of a juvenile court because you have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent, or are you an Afghanistan or Iraq national who meets certain criteria, or are you a retired officer or employee of an eligible international organization or NATO, or are an eligible family member of such an employee?
  • Category 4: Refugee or Asylum Status – Were you granted an Asylum visa at least one year ago, or were you admitted to the U.S as a refugee at least one year ago?

  • Category 5: Human Trafficking or Crime Victims – Do you currently have a T Nonimmigrant Visa (human trafficking) or a U Nonimmigrant Visa (crime victim)

Green Card Category Types 6-8

  • Category 6: Victims of Abuse – Are you the abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or the abused child (unmarried and under 21 years old) of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or the abused parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident?

  • Category 7: Other Categories – According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are several other categories, depending on a person’s circumstances, that might make them eligible for a U.S. Green Card. Contact your immigration attorney for more details.

  • Category 8: Registry – You may be eligible to apply for a Green Card if you have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 1972.

If you have questions about any of the categories or preference types listed above, contact an immigration lawyer today for more information.

Six Steps to Permanent U.S. Residency (Green Card)

Applying for a Green Card is a complex process. We can assist you through each step.

Step 1: Determine if you are eligible to apply. Did you match one of the eight eligibility categories? If so, go to Step 2.

Step 2: Do you need to file your paperwork under “Adjustment of Status” or “Consular” processing. If you qualify, go to step 3

 Step 3: Fill out a “Adjustment of Status” application (Form 1-485) and a sponsorship petition.

If you have questions about any of the categories or preference types listed above, contact an immigration lawyer today for more information.

What is the Adjustment of Status processing?

If you are already in the United States, and have a U.S. visa, your lawyer can help you process your paperwork through an “adjustment of status” process. You do not have to return to your home country to complete the process. If this applies to you, go to Step 3.

What is Consular processing?

If you are outside of the United States, you may apply at a U.S. Department of State consulate abroad for an immigrant visa before coming to the United States. The U.S. Department of State may admit you as a permanent resident. This pathway is referred to as consular processing. If this applies to you, please speak with your immigration lawyer before moving forward with any further steps in the Green Card process.

What is a sponsorship petition?

If you are applying for a Green Card, you may need a U.S. citizen to “sponsor” or support your application. The sponsor will need to fill out a sponsorship petition based on their relationship to the applicant (family member, employer, friend, etc.) Your immigration lawyer will help you decide which sponsorship petition fits your circumstances. Once you have filled out form I-485 and a petition, go to Step 4.

Step 4: Go to your biometrics appointment (see details below). Once you complete the appointment, go to Step 5.

What happens at a USCIS biometrics appointment?

The USCIS will obtain your photograph, fingerprints, and have you sign your name at the appointment. This process confirms your identity so that USCIS can conduct a criminal background check. A biometrics screening is not an interview. When you finish this step, go to Step 5 in the application process.

Step 5: Complete an in-person interview with a person from USCIS. Your immigration lawyer will be with you during the interview. When the interview is over, go to Step 6.

Step 6: Wait for a decision. After your interview, USCIS will review your I-485 form (step 3). They will inform you by mail, or online.

What is a “conditional” Green Card?

Some  applications are approved as “conditional.” If you are a Conditional Permanent Resident, your Green Card is valid for two years. You cannot renew your two-year Green Card. Your immigration attorney will help you file a petition to remove the conditional status before the Green Card expires.

Six Benefits of being a U.S. Green Card holder

  •  Green Card holders are eligible to work in the United States
  •  A Green Card holder is eligible to apply for a social security card and a state-issued driver’s license
  •  If you are a Green Card holder you will qualify for social security benefits
  •  Green Card holders can travel outside of the United States for a limited period
  •  A U.S. Green Card holder can sponsor relatives who want to apply for a Green Card
  •  U.S Green Card holders can attend college or a university at a reduced rate

If you have questions about any of the categories or preference types listed above, contact an immigration lawyer today for more information.

Here is a link to more informaton on "Adjustment of Status".

Green Card - Wolf Sultan Vazquez

Our Mission

Since 1976, Wolf Sultan Vazquez P.C. have been passionate about immigration law. We have helped countless clients achieve fantastic results in their immigration hopes & dreams.
When you need an immigration lawyer in Tucson, Arizona or even on a national level, Wolf Sultan Vazquez P.C. will strive to deliver time after time.

Tarik Sultan


Green Card & US Visa Frequently asked questions

What are the general timeframes for the US immigration process?

Timeframes vary significantly depending on the type of visa, the country of origin, and the specific circumstances of the applicant. As a general guideline, non-immigrant visas can take weeks to months, while immigrant visas can take months to years. 

How long does it take for a US visa application to be processed?

The processing time for a US visa application depends on the type of visa, but generally, it can take from a few weeks to several months. Some visa types may take longer due to extensive background checks. 

Does the type of visa (e.g. work, student, family) affect the immigration processing time?

Yes, the type of visa significantly affects the processing time. For instance, processing times for a student (F1) visa are typically shorter than for an employment-based (H1B) or family preference visa. 

How long does it typically take for a Green Card application to be approved?

Processing times for a Green Card can vary significantly, typically ranging from 7 months to several years. Factors that can affect the timeline include the specific Green Card category and the workload of the processing office. 

Are there ways to expedite the US immigration process?

Some cases may be expedited on a discretionary basis, such as severe financial loss to a company or person, emergencies, humanitarian reasons, or in the case of a non-profit organization. Additionally, premium processing is available for certain work-based petitions which reduces the processing time to 15 calendar days.

How long does the process of naturalization (becoming a US citizen) typically take?

From start to finish, the process of naturalization typically takes between 6 months to a year, though it can sometimes take longer due to the backlog of applications or other administrative delays.

Is the processing time the same for all US embassies and consulates around the world?

No, processing times can vary between different US embassies and consulates due to factors such as local staffing and the volume of applications they handle.