Family based immigration is one path to lawful residency available to certain family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. The process varies by case, but generally there are two distinct requirements.
First, the U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident sponsor must file “Form 1-130, Petition for Alien Relative”.
25% of applications fail at this stage…
Second, the family member must apply for a Permanent Resident Card “Green card” through either consular processing or adjustment of status.
Another 25% fail at this stage……
Family Member Eligibility– The sponsor and family member must have a qualifying relationship. A family member could be eligible if they are in either of the following categories:
1. Immediate Relative– Spouses, unmarried children (under 21 years of age), adopted children or soon to be adopted orphans, parents (over 21 years of age).
2. Family Preference- Eligibility for this category varies by the sponsor’s legal status.
U.S. Citizens- Siblings, married children, unmarried children
Lawful Permanent Residents- Spouses, unmarried children
Immediate Relatives- Family members in this category benefit from having an unlimited number of visas available. Also, many of the common bars to admission are waived, including unlawful presence and working without authorization.
Family Preference- Family members in this category are subject to a limited number of visas available each year. The wait times and open applications are accessible on the visa bulletin and approval is based on a first come first serve basis. An applicant’s priority is determined by the I-130 filing date.
Green Card Filing– Establishing family relationship and having Form 1-130 approved is one of the requirements. The second requirement is for the family member to apply for a green card through the Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status.
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