While people born and raised in California may not think of it often, there are a number of immigrants who are waiting to get their green cards and become residents of the country. A green card gives three important rights to those who have it: the right to live in the country permanently, the right to work legally in the country and the right to enjoy the protection of civil and federal laws.

However, to obtain a green card one must qualify. There are eight different categories under which an individual can qualify, including family, employment, victims of abuse, refugee or asylee status or human trafficking and crime victims.

If someone is applying under the family category, they must either be immediate relatives, such as spouses, unmarried children or preference immigrants. Even if an American citizen is engaged to a foreign national and not yet married, they may be able to procure a visa that allows them to travel to the country with a non-immigration status and marry their fiancé within the next 90 days. However, if the couple got married abroad, they are not eligible for this type of a visa but they can file a petition to sponsor their spouse as an immediate relative.

Individuals who have applied for lawful permanent residence have to prove that there are no health issues with them, which is why they have to undergo medical exams and vaccinations. Regardless of the category under which they applied, they must submit to those tests. The test results must be valid, which is why they must be scheduled as close to the filing date of the application.

Applying for a green card for family immigration can be a daunting process, especially since individuals are awaiting family members and don’t want to make a mistake. It might be helpful to consult an experienced attorney who can ensure all the paperwork is complete and proof submitted so that there are no unnecessary delays.