Family Based Green Card Lawyer

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What is a Family Based Green Card?

A family based green card is granted to aliens based on their relationships to United States citizens. Individuals that are considered to be “immediate relatives” of US citizens can be eligible for family based green card.

What Qualifies as “Immediate Relative”?

But an “immediate relative” has a specific definition. Extended family members are not eligible for family based green cards. In order to get a family based green card, a person has to be a spouse, an unmarried child under the age of 21, or a parent of a U.S. citizen. If the person qualifies as immediate family, they will be given a visa number immediately upon request.

But even if a family member doesn’t meet the requirements for a family based green card, they can still apply. There are other categories of family members that may be awarded a family preference category by U.S. immigration. Other categories can include sons and daughters that are unmarried but over the age of 21, married children of any age, and siblings that are citizens and over the age of 21. There is a waiting period for an immigrant visa for these family preference categories.

How Can I Obtain a Family Based Green Card? 

There are specific steps for someone who lives in the United States, different than for someone who does not, to apply for a family based green card.

For those who live in the United States and who are in the preferred categories for family based green card applicants, there are only two steps in the process. First, the citizen who is a family member and lives in the United States has to file a petition for alien relative form. The petition must be approved. After approval, the person applying for the green card can apply to register for permanent residence

Which Forms Are Required? 

One of the required forms is the Form I-130, also known as the Petition for Alien Relative form. The “priority date” in the immigrant visa category must be current, and the form has to be filed by the citizen relative by the priority date. When submitting Form I-130, the applicant should be prepared to have the necessary signatures and pay a processing fee. Form I-485, also known as the Application to Register Permanent or Adjust Status, is needed to apply for residency.

It is important to keep in mind that green card marriage laws can change these processes, so aware of regulations regarding your green card if you are planning to get married prior to filing for a family based green card.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Yes. Immigration laws are complex and it is possible to ruin your application permanently, without realizing it due to a missing a deadline or filling out a form incorrectly. An immigration lawyer can help you with your forms and research the process for you to make sure you follow all steps correctly.

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Last Modified: 09-19-2016 11:49 AM PDT

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