green card lawful permanent residents

Orlando Green Card Lawyers

Trusted Attorneys Serving Florida for 20 Years

Do you need a green card? Are you looking to become a lawful permanent resident in the United States? At Lim Law, P.A. our attorneys have decades of experience in immigration law and have been serving Florida for 20 years. If you need guidance in applying for a green card or have a complex legal matter related to this area of immigration, we can help.

What Is a Green Card?

A green card allows someone who is not a U.S. citizen to have legal permanent residency in the United States. With a green card, you can live and work anywhere in the U.S. and continue the pathway to citizenship. To apply for a permanent residence within the U.S., you must submit Form I-485.

Once you gain legal permanent residence in the United States, you essentially have lifetime legal status in the country. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires you to renew your green card every 10 years. To renew your card, you must file Form I-90.

However, unlike with citizenship, you may lose your legal residency status if you:

  • Stay outside the United States for over 364 days and you do not have approval
  • Become a U.S. citizen
  • Give up your status by choice and fill out the correct forms
  • Commit a crime or violate immigration law and are ordered removed by an immigration judge

If you want to apply for a green card, contact our experienced green card attorneys in Orlando or call (407) 512-9919 to schedule a free in-person consultation.

Who Is Eligible for a Green Card?

There are several ways you may apply for a green card. Your eligibility depends on qualifying under the appropriate immigrant category.

You may apply under several categories:

  • Family and marriage based
  • Employment based
  • Green card as a special immigrant
  • Refugee or asylee status
  • Human trafficking and crime victims
  • Victims of abuse
  • Registry
  • Other category

Family-Based Green Cards

The most common way individuals obtain a green card is through immediate family. Foreign nationals in the United States may apply for lawful permanent resident status based on a family preference category. There are options to apply whether you are in the United States or outside. This is called “adjustment of status.”

Immediate relatives have different rules and immediate visas available upon filing. This includes a U.S. citizen spouse, parents of citizens (if the U.S. citizen is over 21 years of age), or children of citizens (under the age of 21 and unmarried).

Other family members are also eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence. They include:

  • First Preference (F1) – unmarried sons and daughters, 21 years of age and older, of U.S. citizens
  • Second Preference (F2A) – spouses and children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of lawful permanent residents
  • Second Preference (F2B) – unmarried sons and daughters, 21 years of age and older, of lawful permanent residents
  • Third Preference (F3) – married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth Preference (F4) – brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age and older)

Read more about marriage and fiancée visas here.

Employment-Based Green Cards

Multiple subcategories of workers are eligible to apply for permanent residence. Read more about green cards through employment here.

Humanitarian Green Cards

Refugees and Asylees

For information on asylum and refugee green cards, see here.

Human Trafficking Victims (T Visa)

As part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Act, Congress created the T Nonimmigrant Status (T Visa). This status enables certain victims of a “severe form” of human trafficking to remain in the United States for up to four years if they assisted law enforcement in an investigation of prosecution of human trafficking. Some family members of human trafficking victims are also eligible for benefits. Some recipients of T visas are eligible to apply for a green card.

According to federal law, “severe form of trafficking” includes:

  • Sex trafficking: When someone recruits, harbors, transports, provides, solicits, patronizes, or obtains a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, where the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or the person being induced to perform such act is under 18 years of age; or
  • Labor trafficking: When someone recruits, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Crime Victims (U Visa)

The U Nonimmigrant Visa allows foreign nationals who are victims of certain crimes to become permanent residents in the United States.

If you are the victim of certain crimes where you suffered substantial physical or mental abuse and are helpful to the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity, you may be eligible after you meet certain requirements.

Abuse victims

If you are a battered spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible for a green card. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), you may file a petition for an immigrant visa petition.

To self-petition, you must complete the Form I-360, submit evidence of the abuse and proof the abuser is a U.S. citizen, and file the form at the correct facility. If you have questions about eligibility, contact our office for a consultation.

Diversity Lottery Green Cards

Each year, the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) creates up to 50,000 visas for immigrants, which are drawn by random selection. The individuals in the lottery are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) administers the program.

Green Card through Registry

U.S. immigration law allows certain individuals the ability to apply for permanent residence if they have been in the country since January 1, 1972, even if unlawfully. If you qualify, you must file Form I-485. While your application is processing, you may apply for authorization to work in the United States.

The eligibility criteria are:

  • You entered the United States prior to Jan. 1, 1972
  • You have resided in the United States continuously since Jan. 1, 1972
  • You are a person of good moral character
  • You are not ineligible for naturalization (citizenship)
  • You are not removable (deportable) under Section 237(a)(4)(B) the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
  • You are not inadmissible under Section 212(a)(3)(E) of the INA or as a criminal, procurer, or smuggler

Related Pages

Our Orlando green card attorneys offer services in English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Call (407) 512-9919 for a free in-person consultation or a paid one over the phone.


  • Henry  Lim, Esq. Photo
    Henry Lim, Esq.

    Founding Attorney

    Born in Nicaragua, Orlando immigration lawyer Henry Lim knows the immigrant experience firsthand. He knows how stressful the process can be. Because of this, Henry knows the value of an aggressive immigration attorney. He uses his skill and insight to work for you.
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    Rafael Ortiz-Segura

    Of Counsel

    With 23 years of experience on the bench, former Immigration Judge Rafael Ortiz-Segura brings a unique perspective and a wealth of knowledge to Lim Law, P.A. His time in Orlando immigration court makes him one of the most experienced professionals in immigration in all of Central Florida. Most immigration lawyers in Orlando have argued cases before him.
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    Henye S. Perez


    Henye S. Perez is the Senior Associate Attorney at Lim Law, P.A. Focusing on Immigration and Nationality Law, Attorney Perez has handled a multitude of cases involving complex immigration matters, ranging from visa petitions to defending immigrants in removal proceedings. He has successfully advocated for clients before U. S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration Customs & Enforcement, the Executive Office of Immigration Review and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Graduating ...
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    Michelle Villagran


    Michelle Villagran joined the Lim Law team in 2017. As the daughter of immigrants from Mexico, she has a personal understanding of the struggles individuals endure while navigating the American immigration system. Michelle graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2010, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. She later graduated from Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. During her law school career, Michelle participated in the Barry Law Immigration ...
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    Rachel Krewson


    Rachel has been with Lim Law, P.A. since September 2019. Her passion for the law began when she was a child and her parents joke that they knew she would be a lawyer when they discovered her making her sisters sign contracts to commit to promises they made. She began her legal career more than 20 years ago as a receptionist in a small law firm before becoming a paralegal and ultimately going to law school. Rachel graduated from Barry University School of Law in May 2014 and has been practicing ...
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    Daniel Teyssier


    Daniel E. Teyssier has been with Lim Law, P.A. since March 2018, born in Mexico City. He has a history of 14 years formation and work experience in government agencies such as the Consulate of Mexico in Orlando and the Mission of Mexico to the United Nations in Geneva and Switzerland. He speaks English, Spanish and French, and has an extensive knowledge and experience working with the community. He has a great passion for sports and cars. The most important thing to him is family.
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    Jiamin Liang

    International Marketing

    Jiamin is from Canton China, hometown of dim sum and many other delicious foods. As Director of Overseas Marketing for Lim Law, Jiamin coordinates all activities through our China branch in Guangzhou. This magnificent city is home to the Canton Tower and shares very similar weather to Orlando. Jiamin travels all year within China and oftentimes seeks business opportunities for the firm in other countries. At one point, she travelled to eleven cities in China all within six days! Jiamin enjoys ...
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    Vanessa Vargas


    Vanessa Vargas was born in Lima, Peru. She joined the Lim Law Team one year ago and believes it has been very rewarding opportunity. Immigration law is close to her heart because she underwent the process herself and is eager to help others in need. She is eagerly pursuing her bachelor’s degree with honors in Political Science at the University of Central Florida and will graduate one year earlier than anticipated. She hopes to become a successful Immigration Attorney one day. In her free time, ...
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    Sheana Malavet


    Sheana Malavet was born on a military base in Ceiba, Puerto Rico. She joined the Lim Law family as a Paralegal in February 2019, and she has an educational background in the legal field with degrees in Paralegal and Legal Studies. She has always wanted to be a member of the legal community. She is ambitious and goal oriented. She is passionate about advocating for human rights and aspires to run for congress sometime within the next few years. She loves logic and reasoning games. Her favorite ...
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    Meybelin Barrera

    Law Clerk

    Meybelin Barrera was born in Queens, New York. She is the daughter of Colombian nationals whose immigration story has shaped her pursuit to serve the community. She received a Bachelor's degree with honors in Business & Information Management in addition to a certification and specialization in Financial Operations from Seminole State College. She joined the Lim Law team after working for the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association in their Guardian ad Litem program, where she ...
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    Viviana Roman

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    Viviana Roman was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has one daughter, Annabelle, whom she loves to spend her afternoons rollerblading around the neighborhood. She joined the Lim Law, P.A. team over one year ago, and it was something very new for her. She was excited to take on this opportunity and is happy to help others everyday. She loves being part of the Lim Law team, and is excited for the future of our firm!


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