How to Get a Green Card Through Family

The process in which an immigrant’s family member sponsors the immigrant’s legal stay in the United States is known as Family Immigration. In the U.S., the status of a legal resident is provided by a Green Card. The Green Card empowers the individual to visit, live and work in the U.S. It provides rights to an individual to live anywhere in the U.S., sponsor Green Cards for relatives and work for any company and in any faculty. It enables the individuals to accept employment without obtaining employment authorization and they are also entitled to become U.S. citizens if they have been permanent residents in the U.S., for five years or more.

A Green Card can be obtained through different ways like the Diversity Visa lottery program or through employment. Family Immigration can also take place when you are sponsored by the U.S. citizen or the permanent resident family member for a Green Card.

In order to sponsor an immigrant relative to the U.S., the individual must be able to prove his status as a lawful permanent resident or a citizen of U.S. He should also prove that he will be able to support the relative at a rate of 125 percent above mandated poverty line.

Who is Entitled to Get a Green Card Through Family Immigration?

As a Green Card holder, the individual is entitled to sponsor his unmarried children and spouse during the Family Immigration process. However, if he wants to sponsor his siblings or parents he should be an U.S. citizen.

The category of Immediate Relative, in the context of family immigration needs explanation. The category of Immediate Relative includes the spouse, child (under 21 years old and unmarried) and parents of a U.S. citizen ( provided the U.S. citizen himself or herself is 21 years or above).

In case of U.S. citizens’ foreign spouses, a conditional residency grant of two years is provided to them before acquiring a permanent resident status. Adopted child below 16 years and stepchildren below 21 years and even step-parent of a U.S. citizen are eligible to qualify for Green Card under some criteria in this category.

On the other hand, there are four Preference Categories of which the first, third and fourth include unmarried daughters or sons, married daughters or sons and siblings (sister or brother) of a U.S. citizen.

The second preference category comprises the spouses, children and unmarried daughters and sons of permanent residents or green card holders.

These categories provide an advantage in the process of Family Immigration. In fact, the immigrants belonging to the Immediate Relative category don’t even need to wait for the Immigrant Visa Number. As soon as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approve the petition, the number becomes available to them.

There are also other categories through which one can get a Green Card like being a battered child or being born to a foreign diplomat in the U.S. or by acquiring a non-immigrant status.

Become a Lawful Permanent Resident: A Two-Step Process

If the immigrant’s relative is a lawful permanent resident or a citizen of U.S., the immigrant may become a legal permanent resident. In that case, he needs to follow the following steps:

  • Green Card Petition: The relative of the immigrant who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident should petition on behalf of the immigrant and submit the Form I-130 to the USCIS office. Along with the petition, the petitioner must also submit the proof of his relationship with the immigrant.
  • Adjustment of Status: Once the petition for the Green Card is approved – the immigrant can adjust his status from non-immigrant to permanent resident, if he is present in the U.S. If he is not present in the U.S., he needs to apply at the nearest American Consulate for Consular Processing of an immigrant visa.

Other Essential Information

Apart from the civil and personal documents of the applicant like birth certificates and passports, the Form I-864 must also be provided by the petitioner. As the applications will be processed, the visa applicants will be informed by the Consular Officer as to what documents will be required.

Applicants must also go through a medical examination, regardless of age, before an immigrant visa is issued. A doctor selected by the Consular Office will conduct the examination and the applicant will have to bear the cost of the medical examination.

Another important requirement for the applicant is to keep track of the filing date of the petition/ The filing date is considered the priority date of the applicant. It is essential because issuance of immigrant visas cannot take place until the priority date of the applicant is reached, that is, it becomes current. This can be tracked through the Visa Bulletin.

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