Immigration FAQ

How do I become a permanent resident?

Generally, to obtain permanent resident status a person must be eligible in an immigrant category and be admissible to enter the United States. Permanent residence may be obtained by an Adjustment of Status if present in the United States or through Consular Processing if outside the United States.

How do I become a United States citizen?

U.S. citizenship is obtained through the USCIS under a naturalization process. In general, only those who already have permanent resident status are eligible to apply for citizenship. After five years as a permanent resident, you may apply for citizenship. If you are a spouse of a United States citizen, you may apply for citizenship after three years of permanent residency.

In addition, to qualify for citizenship, you must pass a test regarding minimal English skills and knowledge of the United States Government. This test may be waived or modified for applicants based on disability or age in certain circumstances. Because certain rights and benefits attach to U.S. citizens, if eligible, a permanent resident should apply as soon as he or she is qualified.

How do I bring my family member to the United States?

A family member must be sponsored by another close family member who is a United States Citizen or a Permanent Resident ("Green Card Holder").

U.S. citizens may sponsor their spouse, children under the age of 21 and parents (if the sponsor is age 21 or older) for permanent residency. Because an immediate visa number is available for this category of immigrants, an application can usually be filed and the process completed in six months to a year depending on the ever-changing case loads.

U.S. citizens may also sponsor their children over the age of 21 and their siblings for permanent residency. These categories of immigrants take much longer with waiting periods for siblings often being 20 years or more.

Permanent residents may sponsor their spouse and children under the age of 21, and adult unmarried children for permanent residency. Depending on the visa category and country of birth, these types of immigrant visas can take months to many years.

What is a visa?

A visa is an official endorsement by the U.S. consul abroad that the person may seek admission to the U.S. at a designated port of entry. It usually consists of a visa stamp in a passport. It does not give the right to enter the U.S. Once arriving in the U.S., the U.S. Department of State and Department of Homeland Security then determine whether the person will be admitted to the U.S. and the length and conditions of the stay. If admitted, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol will then issue a white card or an electronic record called an I-94 indicating the noncitizen's status and authorized length of stay.

What do you charge for an immigration case?

In most situations, we charge a one-time flat fee plus costs (application fees, postage, copies, etc.)

Do you accept major credit cards as form of payment?

Yes. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

Contact Our Immigration Attorney Today

Call immigration lawyer Carole Pasternak at 507-288-2447 or complete our firm's online contact form to set up your consultation.