GREEN CARD BASED ON FAMILY TIES
GREEN CARD BASED ON FAMILY TIES
Many immigrants dream of the possibility of reuniting with their families to build a new life together in the USA.
As an American citizen or even as a Green Card holder, you can help a relative become a legal permanent resident of the United States thanks to the US policy of family reunification. In order to do this, you need to sponsor your relative and be able to prove that you have enough income to support your relative when he comes to the United States.
The immigrant visa application process for your eligible family members will follow the same basic steps whether you are a US citizen or a Green Card holder.
WHICH MEMBERS OF MY FAMILY ARE QUALIFIED TO IMMIGRATE TO THE USA?
Potential beneficiaries of petitions based on family ties are classified into two categories: the so-called “immediate relatives” of US citizens and “family preference” relatives.
The immediate relatives of American citizens are not subject to limitations on the number of immigrant visas granted each year.
This category includes:
- Spouses (same sex or opposite sex) of US citizens;
- Single children under the age of 21;
- Parents (after the US citizen turns 21);
- Orphans adopted abroad or in the United States.
Unlike immediate relatives, relatives in the “family preference” category are subject to annual visa quotas and a breakdown by country. This category usually has long wait lists, especially for countries with a large immigrant population in the United States.
The “family preference” categories are described below:
- First preference (F1) – unmarried children of US citizens of any age.
- Second preference (F2) – spouses (same sex or opposite sex), minor children, unmarried children (aged 21 or over) of permanent residents. Divorced or widowed children are considered unmarried as well. Children aged 21 and over fall into a subcategory called 2B; they usually wait longer than other second preference relatives, who are in a subcategory called 2A.
- Third preference (F3) – married children, their spouses and their minor children.
- Fourth preference (F4) – siblings, their spouses and minor children. Half-brothers and half-sisters, as well as foster brothers are also eligible in this category.
HOW DOES THE PROCESS WORK?
You begin the process by filling in Form I-130, Petition for Foreigner Relative. This form establishes the family relationship between you and your relative, through evidence that proves your relationship.
I-130 can be filed with an application for permanent residence, I-485, Application for Permanent Residence Registration or Adjustment of Status.
The sending of the I-130 holds a place in the list of candidates based on the same type of relationship, that is, people from the same country of origin who fall into this category.
After due background checks and admission requirements, your relative can be considered eligible.
There is no waiting period for immediate relatives of US citizens, which include the spouse, father or mother of an American citizen or single child under the age of 21 years old.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR MY RELATIVE TO IMMIGRATE?
The law gives preference to the immediate relatives of American citizens, which includes the spouse, unmarried children under 21 and parents. For them, there is no waiting list to immigrate.
For other relatives, the combination of high demand and the annual limits set by law on how many people can immigrate may mean that your relative will have to wait several years.