Living in the United States provides people with great opportunities, and after someone has immigrated to the country and attained U.S. citizenship, they will likely want to have their family members join them. In these cases, people should be aware of the options available for family members to immigrate to the U.S. and obtain their green card as a lawful permanent resident.
Immediate Relative Green Cards
Immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens are eligible to apply for an immigrant visa and green card if they fall into one of the following categories:
- A spouse of a U.S. citizen
- Children of a U.S. citizen who are under the age of 21 and unmarried
- Parents of a U.S. citizen who is over the age of 21
- A widow or widower of a U.S. citizen
There is no limit on the availability of immigrant visas for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, and once these relatives are living in the United States, they are eligible to apply for a green card.
Family Preference Green Cards
Family members of U.S. citizens who do not fall into the category of immediate relatives may apply for an immigrant visa and green card. However, there are only a limited number of visas available each year, and these are allocated according to preference as follows:
- Children of U.S. citizens who are over the age of 21 and unmarried receive first preference (F1).
- Spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents receive second preference (F2A and F2B).
- Married children of U.S. citizens receive third preference (F3).
- Siblings of U.S. citizens who are over the age of 21 recieve fourth preference (F4).
After family members have received a visa and immigrated to the United States, they are eligible to apply for a green card.
Applying for a Green Card
A family member who has received an immigrant visa and is living in the U.S. can apply for a green card by filing an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485). An applicant must have been “inspected and admitted” or “inspected and paroled” by an immigration officer, and they must not have any bars to adjustment (such as a violation of immigration law) or grounds for inadmissibility (such as a criminal conviction for certain crimes).
In addition to Form I-485, an applicant must submit a number of other documents and forms, including:
- A copy of the Approval or Receipt Notice (Form I-797) for their Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130)
- Two passport photos
- A copy of their birth certificate and government-issued photo ID
- Proof that they have maintained a lawful status while residing in the United States
- A copy of their passport page which contains a nonimmigrant visa or an admission or parole stamp issued by a U.S. immigration officer
- A Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record (Form I-693)
- Other applicable forms or documents, depending on the immigrant’s particular circumstances
Contact an Oak Brook Immigration Attorney
The process of applying for a green card can be complex, and it is important to file the correct forms and documents at the proper time. At Khan Nayyar & Associates, LLC, we can help you meet your legal requirements and answer any questions you have while working to complete the immigration process as smoothly as possible. Contact a DuPage County immigration lawyer today by calling 630-LAWYERS.