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Some basics to obtaining residency

There are no two ways about it: For the average person trying to become a permanent U.S. citizen, the path to obtaining residency -- also known as obtaining a green card -- can be downright confusing. There are very specific steps that need to be taken, including choosing the right path to residency and properly completing all of the necessary paperwork.

If you are someone who is seeking residency, it is common to run into questions along the way. Luckily, legal help is available. This is where the Mark A. Perez, P.C. law firm can step in, to answer your questions and act as your advocates along the way.

For obtaining a green card in the U.S., the U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides a seemingly endless -- and at times overwhelming -- amount of information. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

No. 1: There are multiple paths to residency

While some people may obtain residency through family, others may through an employment opportunity, yet others may by seeking refugee or asylum status. There are also some special provisions. How you will apply will be based on your individual immigrating circumstances.

No 2: Preferences play a role in visa availability

While a visa is always available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, there are caps on other types of family-based and employment-based visas. A number of factors determine the availability of these visas, including when paperwork was submitted - correctly - along with your "preference," or the specific immigrating situation someone falls under. For example, a priority worker, such as a researcher or professor is considered to be in the first preference category, while an investor or entrepreneur is considered to be in the fifth preference category.

No. 3: The paperwork to residency can be intimidating

The forms you fill out and where these forms are filed will be dependent on the type of filing. For example, those filing just a Form I-485 versus filing a Form I-140 will need to not only fill out different paperwork, but each of these must be filed at a different location. With so much on the line, between filling out the correct form and filling out the form correctly, an attorney who handles immigration matters can be an invaluable resource on your path to residency.

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