Family-Based Green Card
In many cases, U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents can file an Immigrant Visa Petition for their family members or relatives. The system of family immigration is divided into two categories:
- Immediate relatives of United States citizens and
- The "preference system" which includes other close relatives of U.S. citizens, as well as spouses and children of Lawful Permanent Residents
The advantage of being in the immediate relative category is that immediate relatives are exempt from the annual limit and they do not have to wait in line for visa availability. The spouse, unmarried child less than 21 years of age, and parents of a U.S. citizen come under the immediate relative category. U.S. citizens can file Immigrant Visa Petitions for more distant relatives than can Lawful Permanent Residents. For example, U.S. citizens can file petitions for their spouses, parents, brothers and sisters, whereas Lawful Permanent Residents can only file for their spouse and unmarried children. Another advantage of filing a petition as a U.S. citizen is that in many categories their family members or relatives are allowed to immigrant faster than those of a Lawful Permanent Resident. Besides immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen, other members or relatives can only immigrate to the U.S. based on family preference visa categories, which have an annual limit.
A Lawful Permanent Resident that hopes to become a naturalized citizen of the U.S. should consider immediately applying for their relatives under the preference category, without waiting until they are a citizen. Once a Lawful Permanent Resident files an Immigrant Visa Petition for a relative under a preference category and then becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen, s/he can upgrade any visa petition pending to the immediate relative category from the family preference category.
A U.S. citizen can file an Immigrant Visa Petition for:
- Husband or wife
- Unmarried children under 21 years of age
- Unmarried son or daughter
- Married son or daughter
- Brother or sister
- Adopted son or daughter provided child is under 16 years of age
A Lawful Permanent Resident can file an Immigrant Visa Petition for:
- Husband or wife
- Unmarried son or daughter of any age
Necessary documentation required for Family-Based Immigrant Visa Petitions:
- Evidence that Petitioner is a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident of the U.S.
- Evidence of Petitioner's relationship to the foreign national relative
- Evidence that Petitioner is willing to sponsor the foreign national relative by providing documentation that his or her income is 125% above the poverty guidelines for all of their dependent family members
If the foreign national relative of a U.S. citizen is in the U.S., they may able to immigrate through a process called adjustment of status. The process of adjustment of status in the U.S. involves different set of forms, documents, and procedural rules.
If the foreign national relative is not in the U.S. or is not able to become a Lawful Permanent Resident through adjustment of status in the U.S. , the individual can apply for consular processing in their home country. In that event, the U.S. citizen petitioner files a petition with the service center in the U.S. and the beneficiary eventually has an appointment at the office of a U.S. Consulate abroad.
At The Ahluwalia Firm, our emphasis is on:
- providing zealous representation before the USCIS
- providing careful review of your personal circumstances
- providing careful coordination of all correspondence with the government agencies
- providing dependable advice and assistance on how to present yourself at the interview
- ensuring a service-delivery model that meets and exceeds your satisfaction
For additional information about our ability to help, prepare, and file all the necessary documents required to apply for a family-based Immigrant Visa Petition/green card, contact us for reliable advice.