Many immigrants are concerned about how tighter enforcement of the laws may affect their applications for US citizenship through the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). According to USCIS, there are several ways to apply for a “green card,” more formally called a Permanent Resident Card. Generally, applicants need a sponsor, and they must fill out an immigration petition and the green card application (form I-485). Immigration petitions include:
- Petitions for alien relatives of US citizens
- Petition to be allowed to work in the United States
- Refugee/Asylee relative petitions
- Applications for asylum
There are several other types of immigration petitions which your Knoxville immigration lawyer can explain.
Applications without a signature will be rejected. Applicants, with the help of Tennessee counsel, should download the forms from the USCIS website, print them, complete them, and mail them. Applicants need to pay the correct fee.
Steps after the immigration petition is approved
If the USCIS approves the immigration petition, and if there is a visa that fits your category, you either file the green card application with USCIS or a visa application with the US State Department.
The applicant must then, according to USCIS rules:
- Attend a biometrics appointment – for fingerprints, photos, and your signature
- Attend an interview
- Await the decision on the application
Immigration Impact states that USCIS doesn’t have a precise answer for how long an applicant must wait. It has tried to remedy the uncertainty by instituting a new pilot program. The pilot program provides estimates for the following four types of immigration forms:
- I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This the standard green card application form.
- Three additional forms
- N-400, Application for Naturalization
- I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card
- I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
The time estimates often vary from field office to field office and petition type. For example, in California, the time estimate for an I-485 application is 10 to 31.5 months, but in Memphis it’s 5.5 to 21 months, and in Nashville it’s 10 to 16.5 months.
Employment-based petitions are processed sequentially (in the order received).
According to Immigration Impact, “Accessing this information is particularly important given the longstanding backlog of filings at USCIS.
At the Law Offices of LaFevor & Slaughter, we understand how frustrating the immigration process can be. We guide you through every phase of the green card process so that you are in the best position to have your application or that of a loved one or friend – approved. For help with any immigration issue, call us at 865-637-6258 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We fight for immigrants seeking US green cards and visas who seek to live in Knoxville and the surrounding locations.
Patrick Slaughter is an experienced Knoxville attorney passionate about helping families resolve legal issues including divorce, family law matters and immigration. Patrick graduated from Lincoln Memorial University – Duncan School of Law, summa cum laude and is a published author. Patrick is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association as well as the Tennessee Bar Association. Contact Patrick Slaughter at (865) 637-6258 or by filling out a case evaluation below.