February 28th, 2011 by Abby Keane
Most US citizens and permanent residents want to bring their close family members to the country to live with them. However, this is not an easy process and involves a lot of complications. A Green Card is a work and residence permit given to an individual living in US legally. A family based Green Card is issued to an individual who is a relative of a Green Card holder or a US citizen. So, only a permanent resident or US citizen can sponsor his/her family member(s) get the residence and work permit in the US.
About Family Immigration
Family immigration refers to the immigration of members of the family of a permanent resident or US citizen. This type of immigration happens on the basis of the person’s relationship to Legal Permanent Resident or US citizen. This relationship status is very important to determine the sponsor of a family member. A US citizen can sponsor his/her spouse, children, parents and siblings but a Green Card holder can only sponsor his/her spouse and children who must be unmarried and must be below the age of 21. This suggests that if you intend to bring in your family members other than your spouse and children, then it is necessary that you should be a citizen of the US.
There are two categories into which the family immigration visa can be divided:
- Immediate relatives: This comprises a US citizen’s spouse, single children below 21 yrs and parents. Parents can be sponsored only if the US citizen is aged 21 years or older.
- Family Preference Relatives: Here, the relatives fall under four preference groups – these groups cover single adult children of US citizens, spouse and single children below the age of 21 of green card holders, single adult children of green card holders, married children of any age of US citizens, and siblings of US citizens who are 21 years or older.
Basic Requirements for Obtaining a Family Based Green Card
There are some basic requirements that you need to fulfill if you want to sponsor any relative to immigrate to US:
- Need to file Form I 130 which is the Petition for Alien Relative for the family member you would want to sponsor
- You need to be a lawful permanent resident or US citizen to sponsor any of your family member
- Evidence of financial ability to support the immigrating family members should be provided with the application.
Advantages of Family Based Green Card
Here are some advantages associated with a family based Green Card:
- The immigrant does not require employment authorization to work
- The right to work anywhere in US
- Become a US citizen after the residence requirements are met
- Become eligible to sponsor your relatives
Process of Family Based Green Card
Family based Green Card is a two process which is as follows:
- A legal permanent resident or US citizen has to submit Form I 130 to petition the alien relative along with a proof of relationship.
- When the Green Card petition is approved by USCIS, if the beneficiary is already in the US, then they need to apply for an adjustment of status. If they are outside the US, they will have to apply for the immigrant visa.
After becoming a legal permanent resident you can apply for US citizenship and ultimately, get Green Cards for your family members fast.