Immigrants who meet eligibility requirements can apply to become legal permanent residents (“green card holders”) and, ultimately, US citizens. Legal permanent residents can live and work in the United States indefinitely, sponsor close family members to join them, and generally travel freely in and out of the county. Once they have been legal permanent residents for several years, legal permanent residents can naturalize to become US citizens. These opportunities are what many immigrants in Maine dream of for themselves and their families, and allow them to put down roots and bring their skills, energy and heritages to their new communities.
Adjustment of Status
Individuals who are applying to become legal permanent residents from within the United States must apply for adjustment of status. The form for adjustment of status is lengthy and written in English legalese. ILAP works with clients to complete these lengthy and complex applications, as well as compile all of the required documentation and prepare for interview with Immigration. In cases where the client has been or is undocumented, our attorneys help to identify the possible pathways to permanent legal status that may be available to them.
Individuals who are applying to become a legal permanent resident from outside the United States must complete consular processing with the U.S. Consulate in their home country. This process involves several government agencies, and is made more challenging by the variable communication systems and infrastructure abroad. It is also a lengthy and costly endeavor, and can be complicated by different bars to re-entry for undocumented individuals. ILAP guides individuals in Maine through the different steps of consular processing so that they can be successfully reunited with their family members.
Naturalization and Citizenship
Although ILAP consults with individuals to determine if they may already be U.S. citizens by birth or through their parents, most of our clients apply for citizenship through naturalization. The naturalization process is substantive, and includes an extensive application, copious supporting documentation, rigorous vetting and the completion of a U.S. civics and English exam. For some individuals, applying for citizenship may cause serious complications to their legal status and should only be undertaken with attorney guidance.