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Visas and green cards

Immigration law is constantly evolving as well as quite complex. South Carolina residents know how much of a political hot button it has become as well.

One area that is often in the news is the procedure required for obtaining a green card. One of the most common ways to acquire a green card is through marriage. After a person marries a United States citizen, he or she can petition for a green card. At first, the green card is granted as a two-year conditional one. After the two years are up, the person can petition for a permanent card, which actually lasts for 10 years but is renewable. This process is completed by filling out U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-751 and supplemental documents. Typically, USCIS grants these petitions by reviewing the submitted documents. However, representatives can request an interview if they believe there is cause for one.

In some instances, the green card holder may encounter resistance from his or her spouse. If the spouse does not sign Form I-751, the spouse can still have his or her petition granted for a permanent card if he or she entered the marriage in good faith but the marriage was subsequently terminated by divorce or annulment, she is the victim of domestic violence or his or her child is or he or she would suffer extreme hardship if forced to leave the United States.

Another matter that is often discussed is the issuance of non-immigrant visas. Citizens of other countries are often restricted to visits in the United States for less than 90 days. For a longer visit, the individual must receive a visitor's visa at a U.S. consulate in their country. Citizens of certain countries do not need visas to visit if their country is part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. However, for longer visits, they do need one. These and other questions can often be answered by an immigration attorney.

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