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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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SBCC here to support students through the green card process

Many people coming to the United States start the process of gaining Visa’s, citizenship and then green cards which finalize their permanent residency in the United States. Through this process, the government can better keep track of its citizens and therefore let those people live and work permanently in this country. 

The process of obtaining a green card can be long depending on your situation. It can also prove to be confusing for many when it comes to finding the right resources to get started. City College meets this confusion with easy access to resources amid the Dream Center, which guides students and their families with professional tips and successful and knowledgable immigrant lawyers to start the journey. 


It is important to take into account what your position in life is. Whether that be living on your own as a student or being a father/mother with dependents, this information can influence your green card application. 

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Additionally, think about how long the process will be. Due to the unique nature of every situation, there is no set time for when a green card will be received.

Depending on the Visa that you have, the time frame for receiving the green card application can be estimated. An H-1 visa, which is an employment based visa, can take six months to two years to receive a green card according to a local Santa Barbara professor going through the process. 


Though the time to wait may seem intimidating, there are easy ways you can prepare for the process before talking to a lawyer. 

“They can prepare by knowing their immigration history, the date of their entry, have they visited other countries, and know their family immigration history,” Eveline Lin, staff attorney said. 

Documentations are resource to have on hand in preparation for a meeting with an immigrant lawyer. 

Seek Professional Advice

While setting up an appointment with an immigrant lawyer, it is important to find licensed people to help with the application. 

“Students who have never had a legal confrontation before and maybe received assistance from non-licensed people and they were given false info and documentation,” Lin said.

According to Lin, further into the process, students that have gone through unlicensed people were also left stranded after the application was filed and has to figure the rest out for themselves.

Getting a Lawyer

The Dream center website makes it easy to navigate where to go for professional help by providing specific information for what you need and links for making free appointments with an immigrant lawyer. 

According to a local professor, who requested anonymity as they are still in the green card process, they came from South America just nine years ago, with the H-1 visa. His dependents who have H-4 visas are not able to work or get scholarships before they receive their green card. 

City College works to make it easier for situations such as this one with resources like lawyers that are often too expensive for any students or families living off of just one income. 

After setting the appointment with the lawyer on the Dream Center website, a consultation will take place. Assessing all the information you have prepared beforehand and your general situation; which then leads to the application process.


While waiting on the application to be assessed for your green card, find an international community. 

“Cultural Diversity is important in a community,” the local professor said.

City College provides community through the many clubs on campus and through advisors for international students. 

“Keep working hard, keep chasing your dreams and understand that there are many obstacles along the way, but with effort, discipline and faith everyone is able to overcome those obstacles,” the professor said.


The Dream Center works to encourage students and families who are going through this long process of obtaining a green card.

The lawyers that you can get connected to through City College also understand the weight that getting a green card means to people. A green card means also acquiring a social security number which opens up job opportunities and residency without the time limit of moving back to your home country. 

“It’s nothing for someone who has legal status, it’s everything for those that don’t,” Lin said. 


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