What is family based Immigration?
A US citizen may petition to secure a green card, fiancée visa, or spousal visa, based on the family relationship. A US citizen may also petition for unmarried children under 21, married sons/daughters over 21, parents (as long as the citizen is over 21 years), and siblings (as long as the citizen is over 21 years of age).
I want to sponsor my wife and minor children. What steps do I need to take?
If you are US citizen and want to sponsor your wife and minor children for a green card, the first step is to file an I-130 to establish your relationship. Since ones spouse and unmarried children under 21 are considered immediate relatives, one can also file the I-485 (adjustment of status to secure their green card). Immediate relatives include spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents of US citizens 21 or older. For immediate relatives, there is no wait for a visa. If they are already in the lawfully country, then they may be able to adjust status within the United States. If they are not in the US, then they will need to go through consular processing.
What is adjustment of status?
Adjustment of status allows one to register permanent resident status via filing the I485 form.
What if I want to sponsor other members of my family?
As a US citizen, one may be able to sponsor other family members for a green card (permanent residency). There is a preference system set for family members who are not immediate relatives. The preferences are as such:
- First preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- Second Preference (2A): Spouses of green card holders, unmarried children (under 21) of green card holders (Legal Permanent Residents)
- Second Preference (2B): Unmarried adult sons and daughters of green card holders (Legal Permanent Residents)
- Third Preference: Married sons and daughters (age not relevant) of U.S. citizens
- Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens
In such cases one would file a I-130 and upon approval of the I-130 wait for a visa to be allotted. The visa availability is based on the date the I-130 was filed. (otherwise know as the priority date) For more information on Visa availability, please refer to the “visa bulletin” page on the U.S. Department of State website. The preference category will be the basis by which one can determine the wait for an immigrant visa number.
I am a Green Card holder(permanent resident). May I sponsor family members for a Green Card?
Yes, as a permanent resident you may sponsor your spouse, unmarried children (under 21), and unmarried adult children.