Green Cards

San Marcos Green Card Attorneys

Compassionate Immigration Representation in Hays County

A green card is an invaluable visa that allows a non-citizen to live and work in the United States. Beyond opening up a world of opportunities, a green card also offers a clear pathway to becoming a permanent U.S. citizen. Obtaining a green card is not an easy task, however, even in the best of circumstances. Any non-citizen looking to obtain one will benefit from the guidance of a seasoned immigration attorney

At The Law Offices of David C. Hardaway, we are committed to helping you make your American Dream a reality. If you are looking to live and work in the U.S. on an indefinite or permanent basis, that starts with identifying potential avenues of securing a green card and becoming a lawful permanent resident. After listening to your story and carefully evaluating your circumstances, our San Marcos green card lawyers can walk you through your immigration options. We are prepared to help you navigate the complex legal processes of family immigration, employment immigration, the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, and more. Helping you achieve your immigration goals is our top priority, and you can expect transparent communication and results-oriented advocacy every step of the way. 

If you are interested in seeking a green card, we encourage you to contact us online or call (512) 846-9966 to schedule a free initial consultation. Se habla español.

Family-Based Green Cards

You may already be aware that existing U.S. citizens and green card holders (lawful permanent residents) can “sponsor” relatives for green cards. While this is true, there are highly specific rules and procedures that govern this process. Not all types of family members are eligible for sponsorship, for example, and the sponsoring individual’s status as a citizen versus a lawful permanent resident will also determine who they can and cannot sponsor. 

Someone is considered an “immediate relative” for purposes of family immigration if they are:

  • The spouse of a U.S. citizen
  • The unmarried child of a U.S. citizen who is under the age of 21
  • The parent of a U.S. citizen if the child is at least 21 years of age

A person is considered a “preference relative” for purposes of family immigration if they are:

  • The unmarried child of a U.S. citizen who is 21 years of age or older
  • The spouse of a lawful permanent resident
  • The unmarried child of a lawful permanent resident who is under the age of 21
  • The unmarried child of a lawful permanent resident who is 21 years of age or older
  • The married child of a U.S. citizen (any age)
  • The sibling of a U.S. citizen who is 21 years of age or older

Whether you are an “immediate relative” or a “preference relative” will determine how the rest of the process of getting a green card works. Obtaining a green card as an immediate relative tends to be easier and more efficient than getting one as a preference relative. Our San Marcos green card attorneys can evaluate your eligibility and guide you through the applicable process.

Once you have determined that you qualify as an immediate relative or preference relative, your existing U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family member – the “petitioner” – will submit a request to the government to establish the existence of a valid family relationship, which in turn opens the door to your getting a green card. What happens after the government approves this initial request will depend on whether you are an immediate relative or a preference relative. An unlimited number of green cards are available to immediate relatives, so individuals in this category can proceed as soon as the initial petition is approved. 

If you are a preference relative, you will need to wait for a visa number to become available. Because the number of visas available to preference relatives is capped annually, you will likely face a backlog, as there are almost always more preference relatives than there are visas. The amount of time you will need to wait for a visa number to become available can vary, but depending on your circumstances, it may be several years or more. We will be honest with you when discussing the estimated wait. When you do receive your visa number, you can proceed to the next step.

After your initial request is approved and you have your visa number, you can formally apply for your green card. If you are already inside the United States on another visa, you can request an “adjustment of status” that will allow you to get your green card without leaving and reentering the country. If you are outside the United States, you will need to complete consular processing through your country’s U.S. embassy or consulate. We are ready to assist you with either process and make every effort to make getting your family-based green card as smooth as possible. 

Employment-Based Green Cards

Another way to get a green card is through employment. Note that there are a variety of temporary employment-based visas available, but these do not confer lawful permanent residency or allow you to work in the United States indefinitely. To get a green card through employment, you will need to find a U.S.-based employer that is willing to sponsor you. Currently, only 140,000 employment-based green cards are available each year, with some workers receiving higher priority based on their qualifications. 

Each year’s allotment of employment-based green cards is divided among the following preference categories:

  • First Preference Category: Priority Workers. Persons of “extraordinary ability” in certain fields, “outstanding” researchers and professors, and multinational executives and managers receive top priority.
  • Second Preference Category: Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability. This category includes individuals who hold a master’s degree (or foreign equivalent) or higher as well as persons of “exceptional” ability (a lower threshold than “extraordinary” ability). 
  • Third Preference Category: Professionals, Skilled Workers, and Unskilled Workers. A “professional” is an individual with a bachelor’s degree (or foreign equivalent). A skilled worker has at least two years of relevant work experience or training, while an unskilled worker has less than two years of relevant work experience or training. 
  • Fourth Preference Category: Certain Special Immigrants. This miscellaneous category includes certain types of religious workers, translators, and former government employees.
  • Fifth Preference Category: Immigrant Investors. An individual who invests a certain amount of capital in a U.S.-based enterprise that creates (or in some cases preserves) a minimum number of jobs for U.S. workers can qualify for a green card through this category.

Our San Marcos green card lawyers can work with you and your sponsoring employer to navigate what can be an overwhelming, confusing process. We understand how to strategically position our clients and will do everything in our power to set you up for success.

Understanding the Green Card Process

Obtaining a green card can be a complex and overwhelming process, but our experienced San Marcos green card attorneys are here to guide you through every step. Whether you are seeking a family-based green card, employment-based green card, or looking to apply through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, we can provide compassionate and knowledgeable immigration representation in Hays County.

Our team will work closely with you to understand your unique situation and develop a personalized strategy to help you achieve your immigration goals. We are dedicated to providing thorough and effective legal assistance to ensure a smooth and successful green card application process.

Don't navigate the green card process alone. Contact The Law Offices of David C. Hardaway today to schedule a consultation with our immigration attorneys.

Getting a Green Card through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

The Diversity Immigrant Visa program, sometimes referred to as the “green card lottery,” is an additional path to getting a green card available to certain non-citizens who may not otherwise qualify for one. Through this program, the U.S. government issues 50,000 green cards to randomly selected individuals and their families each year. 

While it is free (and relatively easy) to enter the lottery, not everyone is eligible. To qualify, you must have been born in a country that has sent fewer than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. over the past five years. A country may meet this requirement one year but not the next, and the U.S. government publishes a list of ineligible countries prior to each application period. In addition to this requirement, you must also have at least a high school education or at least two years of work experience within the past five years in a job that requires at least two years of professional training.

If you are interested in entering the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, our San Marcos green card attorneys can advise whether you are eligible and help you enter. Entries are open between early October and early November of each year.

The Law Offices of David C. Hardaway offers our immigration services to clients located throughout the region, including but not limited to San Antonio and Seguin as well as Caldwell, Comal, Wilson, Medina, Bexar, Blanco, Bastrop, Gonzales, and Guadalupe Counties. Call (512) 846-9966 or contact us online to explore your options for getting a green card today.