Receiving Permanent Resident (Green Card) Status in the US has many benefits, including allowing the obtaining of employment authorization (what was once a work permit). U.S. citizens, green card holders, and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) can sponsor a foreign-born member of their immediate family to come to the US for work. This does not apply to more distant relatives, who must undergo alternate processes. This is a lengthy application time, and it is important to get it started successfully. To learn more about the steps involved in obtaining a green card, review our useful pages on:

PERM Labor Certification

How to Complete “Adjustment of Status”

How to Fill Out I-140 Form

Family-based Green Card Requirements

When you begin this process, it is important to understand Family-based green card requirements. Furthermore, bear in mind that not every family member is eligible for this type of petition. In order to prevent any undue delays, you should be sure you know which family members are eligible. Below, we have listed what forms apply to which dependents. You will need to demonstrate proof of the relationship with this person.

IR-1 – Spouse
IR-2 – Unmarried child under 21
IR-3 – Orphan adopted abroad
IR-4 – Orphan to be adopted
IR-5 – Parent who is at least 21

If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad who wants to file an immigrant visa petition internationally, you may do so at the U.S. embassy or consulate. This assumes that you have been a resident of that country for at least six months and the host country has granted permission to reside legally. However, other eligibility requirements may apply and vary by country, and as such, it is best to consult a family green card lawyer in order to learn about this option and determine your eligibility to complete this process successfully.

Understanding Subcategories

USCIS gives special priority to immediate family members to promote familial values and togetherness.

Preference Relative

Another category is preference relatives. This category includes children of above the age of 21 of U.S. citizens, married children of U.S. citizens, dependents of green card holders, etc. There are roughly 480,000 green cards set aside for this category, and so there is typically a wait dependent on priority date.

Processing Times

In order to be processed, a number of steps in the family-based immigration category must be completed. The U.S. citizen or green card holder must file the corresponding petition through Form I-130, which is filed with the Department of Homeland Security and a regional USCIS branch. Petitions must be filed separately per relative. The waiting period for immediate relatives can range from six to twelve months dependent on caseloads by USCIS and other factors.

Required Documentation

Proof of citizenship — such as a birth or naturalization certificate — will be necessary. You must also be able to prove a qualifying relationship type and that your income will be able to support the individual at at least 125% of the federal poverty line. The poverty line varies by area, so please check what that is before you file.

Child Status Protection Act

The Child Status Protection Act is designed to allow certain relatives to retain their ‘child’ classification after reaching the age of 21. The age of the family member freezes when the petition for Alien Relative is filed by the U.S. citizen parent. This applies as well when the petition is filed by a permanent resident, and the age freezes upon the date the petitioner naturalizes.

Revocation and Misuse

The green card can be revoked if the holder is found to have misused its privileges. Actions that can lead to revocation include:

  • Committing a crime.
  • Establishing a primary residence outside the U.S.
  • Not informing the authorities of an address change.

Fees for Sponsoring a Family Member

Fees will be due upon filing the Petition for Alien Relative, processing the immigrant visa application, and if there are required medical exams or vaccinations. Other fees may also apply.

We Are Ready To Assist You!

With years of experience in immigration, Pride Immigration Law Firm’s family green card attorneys can help to identify your needs in this process to avoid delays, requests for evidence, and any other hurdles. Our priority is secure the best result possible for your case and we employ our proven legal processes to ensure a positive, stress-free experience. We offer consultations at our office or by phone so that you can understand your options before making any major decisions.  If you are interested in obtaining a green card, or sponsoring a family member – call Pride Immigration Law Firm PLLC, or send us a message online to schedule your consultation today!

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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.
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