Messing Law Offices Arizona immigration lawyers
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Immigration Law
Tel: (520) 512-5432
Fax: (866) 641-2090
By John Messing

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Immigration Factoids ™
  The following categories of applicants can obtain an immigrant visa immediately, without the usual wait: a spouse of a U.S. citizen, a foreign-born child or stepchild of a U.S. citizen who is UNDER 21 years of ages, and a parent of a U.S. citizen child who is OVER 21.

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Permanent Resident Card

This page includes images of different types of green cards and some history and information about each.

Learn about getting a green card from inside the United States.

Learn about getting a green card from abroad.

A permanent resident card is commonly known as a green card. It is proof of immigrant status, which allows the holder to reside and work in the United States. Immigrant status can be conferred by an immigrant visa issued by a U.S. consulate abroad, or through adjustment of status from within the United States by USCIS.

The card is proof that such status exists. Therefore, loss of the card itself or its theft does not equate to a loss of immigrant status. The status continues unaffected, and a replacement proof of it can be requested and obtained. If there is a mistake in the information on the card, it can be corrected through a timely request for the issuance of a new card.

Replacement cards can be requested through e-filing or paper forms. If the fault was the Government's and it is caught in time, there is no fee for a replacement card. Otherwise, there is a fee. The form for paper filing and procedures for e-filing are available for free from the USCIS website.

Such cards are commonly valid for a period of ten years and when there is an expiration date shown, they must be renewed upon expiration. However, it is unclear whether the requirement to renew applies to older permanent resident cards that were issued without an expiration date.

If you have been advised of the need to renew your card, the card has expired or is about to expire and you have reservations about requesting a new one and need a confidential attorney-client consultation to discuss it, please contact Messing Law Offices to schedule an initial consultation.

With regard to seeking employment, a permanent resident card is often more attractive to potential employers than temporary visas like the H-1B visa because the employer is saved the trouble and expense of sponsoring and eventually requesting an extension of a non-immigrant visa (click the link to see an example of a non-immigrant visa) for a valued employee or potential hire. Also, a permanent resident can work indefinitely so long as the permanent residence status is not lost through a disqualifying criminal conviction or abandonment. A non-immigrant visa, by contrast, is granted for a limited period of time, with or without possibility of extension, depending on the classification. Therefore, from the standpoint of the employer, a permanent resident card can offer greater stability of employment in the workplace.

If you have questions or concerns about market attractiveness of various visas for yourself or someone close to you, or you are employer needing help on the subject, please contact Messing Law Offices for a free seven minute telephonic consultation or to schedule an initial consultation.

Employers are required initially to check the immigration status of all employees hired in the United States, whether they are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or non-immigrants holding an employment authorization document. From the government's perspective, an employer's preference for one class of non-U.S. citizen employees may be evidence of illegal discrimination in hiring. The U.S. Department of Justice investigates complaints of employment discrimination against non-U.S. citizen workers and is empowered to levy fines against guilty employers. Read more about immigration-related employment discrimination.

Permanent residents and employers alike often assume that holders must produce the card itself , as would be required if questioned by immigration authorities, but legally permanent residents cannot be required to do so in order to satisfy the employment eligibiity requirement of employers if they choose to proffer alternative proof of status. For example, a U.S. permanent resident is required to declare under penalty of perjury in Section 1 of the I-9 form whether he or she is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or alien authorized to work and should choose permanent resident. He or she must furnish the A-number associated with permanent residency, but need not show the employer the permanent resident card itself; the employee could legally only show a social security card and driver's license to qualify for the job and an employer could not legally ask to see the card itself without violating rules against employment discrimination.

If you have questions or concerns about I-9 requirements either as an employer or employee, please contact Messing Law Offices for a free seven minute telephonic consultation or to schedule an initial consultation.

E-Verify is a computerized check made by the employer of government social security and immigration databases to make sure that federally-issued documents which are tendered to prove legal status are authentic and not fraudulent.

If you are an employer with e-Verify questions, please contact Messing Law Offices for a free seven minute telephonic consultation or to schedule an initial consultation.

Employment reverification by an employer is required for expiring employment authorization documents, but this requirement does not apply to a renewed permanent resident card, whether occasioned upon expiration of an old card or removal of conditions upon permanent residence. (Permanent residency granted on the basis of a recent marriage to a US citizen and of certain types of investments is conditional for a period of two years, near the conclusion of which a supplemental filing must be made to remove the conditions.)

If you have questions or concerns about employment eligibility requirements either as an employer or employee, please contact Messing Law Offices for a free seven minute telephonic consultation or to schedule an initial consultation.

A special type of proof of permanent residency is a stamp in a foreign passport affixed by U.S. immigration authorities, which occurs most frequently when a new immigrant arrives from abroad for the first time at a port of entry into the U.S. It is issued as temporary proof of permanent residence. When the holder receives the green card itself, the stamp is superseded and replaced by it. At that time the employer is required to reverify employment authorization of the holder.

Sample of stamp and foreign passport showing temporary proof of permanent residency


A new version with green lettering and highlights was adopted in 2010. An example appears below.

Sample of front and back of the 2010 version of permanent resident (green) card

An earlier version of the permanent resident card was issued beginning in 1997 by the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Department of Justice prior to the creation of the Citizenship and Immigration Service of the Department of Homeland Security. An almost identical version was adopted by the Department of Homeland Security in 2004 except as to the issuing agency and a more sophisticated hologram.

Sample of front and back of the 2004 version of the permanent resident (green) card

Sample of front and back of the 1997 version of permanent resident (green) card

Tucson Permanent Residency Attorney: Family, Labor, Business-based Immigration Lawyer 

At Messing Law Offices, we provide high quality legal services and expertise to families, working men and women, and businesses. If you have a concern in the areas of family based immigration, business based immigration, employment based immigration, or naturalization and you are seeking the help of an experienced immigration lawyer, call Messing Law Offices for professional Arizona immigration attorney assistance.

John Messing has been reappointed the Liaison from the American Bar Association (SciTech Section) to United States Citizenship & Immigration Services 2010-2012. Read the October 2011 Report on the USCIS proposed Transform E-filing System by John Messing, Tucson immigration lawyer.

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Copyright JHM 2007-15

Corporate Intl Magazine Legal Awards Winner 2015 for top Arizona immigration law firm Winner of the Corporate Intl Magazine Legal Award for ‘Immigration Law Firm of the Year in Arizona for two years running. American Immigration Lawyers Association American Immigration Lawyers 2015 Member

Here are some representative client testimonials:

SaMa - Feb 9, 2011
"Smart ,honnest, compassionate, great understanding of the immigration laws. john messing is the best lawyer you can get."

Leah - Sep 1, 2010
An exceptional immigration attorney Mr. Messing helped me sponsor my husband to come to the U.S. from France. Even though I was missing some of the income qualifications he found every possible solution to get us through the process successfully. I am very impressed with how smooth he made this process for us and quick w were approved by USCIS! We will be using him again in the future to apply for citizenship. I highly recommend Law Offices."

These and more testimonials can be viewed here

Messing Law Offices, P.L.C., based in Tucson, Arizona, provides immigration and naturalization attorney services to Eloy, Florence, Nogales, Sierra Vista, Tucson and Yuma as well as Coconino County, Gila County, Maricopa County, Pima County, Pinal County and Yavapai County. Immigration services also offered in San Diego and Southern California.

tel.: 520-512-5432
. Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), American Bar Association (ABA).

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The information provided in this website is not legal advice and should not be interpreted as legal advice. This website is intended to provide a basic understanding of this information in summary form. This information may not be comprehensive, is subject to change, and may not apply to all individual circumstances. Any information received here should be confirmed with the appropriate government agencies or with an attorney, particularly as it relates to your individual circumstances. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to be bound by our Terms of Use. No attorney-client relationship is created by the provided content.