Vista Legal Services

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We are a Law Office

At Vista Legal Services we handle every kind of immigration service, including:

  • Family Immigration
  • Citizenship
  • Deportation
  • Waivers
  • Employment Immigration
  • Visitor Visa
  • Criminal Defense

Serving Los Angeles and Orange Counties and the Inland Empire.

Permanent Residence and Citizenship

By Attorney Gerald Gornik

Much of what we do at Vista Legal Services revolves around helping a person get a green card (permanent residence), keep a green card, or become a citizen. One of the most common ways to get legal status is through a family petition.

Under immigration law, U.S. citizens and legal residents may file petitions to obtain legal residency for certain close relatives. A permanent resident can file a petition to get permanent residence for his or her spouse and single children. A U.S. citizen can file for his or her spouse, children, parents or siblings. The length of the entire process depends on many factors, all of which can be explained in detail at your consultation.

A person who is getting a green card is either going to have the final interview here-called adjustment of status, or have the final interview in their country of birth-called consular processing. In general, people who have petitions that were filed for them before May of 2001, or whose last entry was legal, can finish the process in the U.S., without going back to their country of birth. The rest have to return to their birth country, where they usually have to file a waiver.

As for obtaining citizenship, a permanent resident can apply after five years of residency or three if married to a U.S. citizen. There are various restrictions that we can explain during your consultation.

Each time a person seeks to improve or extend his legal status, the government reviews that person’s history. Presently, the Immigration Service is more rigorous than ever in its background checks of anyone soliciting an immigration benefit. For that reason, more than ever, it is imperative to consult with an immigration attorney. At your first consultation we will analyze and discuss the potential problems that could arise.

The three problems that constantly arise in the immigration arena are the following: illegal reentries, prior deportations and criminal history.