For many people around the world, the United States is a beacon of hope. They often strive to achieve the American Dream — a life that will hopefully be safer and have a better standard of living. However, the process for being able to legally live — and work — in New Jersey or elsewhere in the country through the procurement of a green card can be a difficult one.

A green card is a Permanent Resident Card, known for its color. It gives the cardholder the status of a permanent resident and allows the person to both work and live in the country. Those who hold a green card can apply for a temporary work permit and another temporary permit that allows the holder to leave and re-enter the country.

The process of obtaining a permit can sometimes be tedious, making it important to have assurances of eligibility prior to completing an application. For those who have an immediate family member who is a citizen — including a spouse, children under 21 who are not married, a child over the age of 21, a stepparent or stepchild if the marriage occurred while the children were under the age of 21, and children who were adopted before they turned 16 — the process can be relatively quick. Extended family members and skilled workers can also request a green card, but the process is often lengthy and involves a preference system. For example, the first preference of skilled workers are priority workers, individuals that have “unique and advanced skills.” 

Even once obtained, the cardholder must continue to meet certain conditions in addition to filing renewals. Failure to do so could result in the removal of the person from the country. As a result, the stakes surrounding a green card are high. Because of this, many people seeking status as a permanent resident in New Jersey want to ensure that no mistakes are made throughout the process. As such, they often seek guidance from an attorney who can help ensure that no mistakes are made.