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Family-Based Green Card

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One of the most-used methods of getting a Green Card is through a member of the family.  The two sets of eligible relationships are as follows:

  • Relatives of U.S. Green Card Holders
  • Relatives of U.S. Citizens

Eligibility

In order to sponsor a family member to immigrate to the United States, the sponsor must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a citizen or lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) of the U.S. and be able to provide documentation proving that status.
  • Prove the ability to support the relative at 125% above the mandated poverty line with an Affidavit of Support.

A lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of permanently living and working in the United States. A lawful permanent resident can file a petition for the following relatives:

  • Husband or wife
  • Minor unmarried children (under the age of 21)
  • Unmarried adult son or daughter of any age

A U.S. Citizen of any age (either by birth or by naturalization) can file a petition for the following relatives:

  • Husband or wife
  • Minor unmarried child (under the age of 21)
  • Unmarried adult son or daughter (21 or older)
  • Married son or daughter of any age

A U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years or older can file a petition for the following relatives:

  • Brother or sister, if the sponsor is at least 21 years old
  • Parent, if the sponsor is at least 21 years old.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.

Documents Required for Filing

There are two stages to a family-based petition before the family member, known as the beneficiary, becomes a permanent resident:

1) Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative
The Permanent Resident or U.S. Citizen (sponsor) completes and submits the I-130 Petition on behalf of the beneficiary.  Proof of the relationship must be included along with other required documentation.  The current USCIS filing fee is $355.00.

2) Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status) or Consular Processing (CP)
The family member will need to determine how they will file for their Green Card.  If the family member is already in the U.S., they can choose to file Adjustment of Status (AOS) or Consular Processing.  If the family member is outside of the U.S., they will need to file through Consular Processing.

Status within the United States

The I-130 petition alone will not provide the beneficiary with status to stay in the U.S.  To remain in the U.S. while waiting for a current Priority Date, the beneficiary must have valid non-immigrant status or through another Green Card application pending.(for example, an employment-based case).  Once the beneficiary has an AOS petition pending with the USCIS, they will be eligible to stay in the U.S. while it is being adjudicated.

Preference Categories

Depending on the category and country of birth, there are backlogs in visa numbers for some of the family-based categories.  The Priority Date (the date the I-130 was received by USCIS for processing) and Visa Bulletin< determine when the beneficiary of a family-based applicant can expect their Green Card.

Immediate relatives do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available once the visa petition filed for them is approved by USCIS. The relatives in the limited family-based categories must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available.

Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens

Immediate relatives of US Citizens (including spouses, unmarried children under 21, orphans adopted either abroad or in the US, and parents) currently have no backlog in visa number availability.  Eligible sponsors can file the I-130 and AOS petitions concurrently if the beneficiary is already within the U.S.  If adjusting though Consular Processing in the beneficiary’s home county, the National Visa Center will forward the required documents once the I-130 is approved.  Please note, a child does not have derivative status in an immediate relative (IR) petition.

Limited Family-Based Immigrants

These types of immigrant classifications involve specific family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident. Under immigration law, there are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants as explained below.

  • Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their children, if any. (23,400)
  • Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (21 and older) of lawful permanent residents. (114,200) At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder will be allocated to unmarried sons and daughters.
  • Family Third Preference (F3): Married adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and children. (23,400)
  • Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of United States citizens, and their spouses and children, provided the U.S. citizen sponsors are at least 21 years of age. (65,000)

Children under 21 of immediate relatives being sponsored cannot benefit from permanent resident petitions of their parents.  A separate petition must be filed for each child.  In Category F2 [spouses, minor children, and unmarried adult sons and daughters (21 years and older) of lawful permanent residents], children do benefit from their parent’s petition.

Please note, a child does not have derivative status in an immediate relative (IR) petition. This is different from the family second preference (F2) petition. A child is included in his/her parent's F2 petition. A child is not included in his/her parent's IR petition.

Conditional Permanent Resident Status for Spouses of U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents

If the beneficiary receives the AOS or CP approval before the two-year anniversary of their marriage, they will receive Conditional Permanent Resident (CPR) status and the CPR card will only be valid for two years.  Within the 90-day period before the CPR card expires, the CPR must complete and file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence.  The purpose of this form is for a conditional resident who obtained status through marriage to apply to remove the conditions on his or her residence.

The USCIS will require proof that the marriage was entered in "good faith" and not for the purposes of evading immigration laws.  Any evidence that shows the U.S. Citizen and CPR are still in a legitimate relationship can be submitted. 

Effect of Not filing 

If this petition is not filed, the CPR will automatically lose their permanent resident status as of the second anniversary of the date on which the conditional status was issue.  They will then become removable from the U.S.

Affidavit of Support

While there is no required minimum age to file a family-based petition (unless specified for a particular category), the sponsor must be at least 18 years of age to file the Affidavit of Support, Form I-864.  The affidavit of support is required to show that the sponsor can financially support the relative(s) for whom they are petitioning.

If the Sponsor cannot prove they meet 125% of the poverty guidelines for their household size, a co-sponsor must commit to providing the required financial support.

Medical Examination and Vaccinations

Before becoming a permanent resident, each applicant must have a medical exam completed by a USCIS Certified Civil Surgeon (or Consulate approved doctor if filing through Consular Processing).   The medical will include any vaccinations required by U.S. immigration laws.

When a Legal Permanent Resident Becomes a U.S. Citizen while a Family-Based Petition is Pending

If the I-130 petition was filed for a relative when the Sponsor was a Legal Permanent Resident, the petition must be upgraded once the Sponsor becomes a U.S. Citizen.  This can benefit many family-based petitions, because the retrogression effecting relatives of Legal Permanent Residents is greater than that affecting relatives of U.S. Citizens. A copy of the Sponsor’s Naturalization Certification and the biographical page from the U.S. Passport must be filed as proof in order for the USCIS to upgrade the pending family-based petition.

Children of applicants in Category F2 benefit from their parent's petition.  Once the Sponsor has upgraded the petition from that of a Legal Permanent Resident to that of a U.S. Citizen, these children must file a petition of their own, as they will no longer benefit from a parent’s petition.

Ineligible Relatives

Certain conditions and activities may make a relative ineligible for a U.S Permanent Residency. Examples of these ineligibilities are:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Having HIV/AIDS
  • Overstaying a previous visa
  • Practicing polygamy
  • Advocating the overthrow of the government
  • Submitting fraudulent documents

A relative may also be refused a visa if the Petitioner or Applicant provided a willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or in the event of fraud.

For details provided by USCIS on family-based cases, please review the attachments.

1. For Green Card Holders:  How do I help my relative become a permanent resident?
2. For US Citizens:  How do I help my relative become a permanent resident?

AttachmentSize
For Green Card Holders How do I help my relative become a permanent resident.pdf1.17 MB
For US Citizens How do I help my relative become a permanent resident.pdf1.18 MB

Petition filed by my mother

My mother petition me i am now 28 years old,i am approved by uscis last nov 5,2013,according to the letter my original file will be sent to nvc,,then i am wondering what happen next,,how many years do it take for to be in my mother and sister place in California,,pls help..thanks a lot.

Petition filed by my mother

Carol, if your priority date is current and stays current, your case should be decided within a few months. Hopefully, less than a year.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Out of status, need family based immigration

Hi,

My friend recently got married. His wife is a US citizen and he has entered the states legally. His marriage is registered in the US. However, since entering he lost his job and his H1B application has been revoked by the company. Technically he is out of status for a few days now. My question is should he file for adjustment of status(I-485) along with I-130? Or should he leave the US and wait for I-130 to be processed?

Out of status, need family based immigration

Manu, he should file for AOS also. Have him call in to the next free community conference call this week. I will give him a couple of pointers and explain the difference between being out of status and unlawfully present.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

N400 and Marriage

Dear Sir, This week I filed the N-400 application with the USCIS. I checked the processing time for N-400 on the USCIS website (Phoenix, AZ office) and it states 5 months (so perhaps I'll receive my citizenship in May 2014).
I am planning on getting married in Feb/Mar of 2014 in India. My girl-friend is an Indian citizen and works in London, UK (on a work visa). She does not have a US visitor visa - never been to the USA. Currently, she is in India on vacation / prep for the wedding and she may not go back to the UK.

What is the best option to have her accompany me to US and the timing?

N400 and Marriage

Shaan, join me in the next free community conference call. I will explain. I think you should look into K-1 and K-3 visas.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

B-2 to K-3 Visa

Hi there, I have a question. I came to USA with a B2 visa with my husband(USA Citizen). I was attempting to come for short term visiting but now things may be changed since my husband wants to stay in USA. Is it possible for me to apply for the temporary resident permit(K3) while I am here with the B2 visa? We've been married for longer than a year. I appreciate if you can reply back. Thanks

B-2 to K-3 Visa

Please speak with a lawyer. USCIS is a little too ready to allege fraud (in using B-2 visa) in these types of cases. But, in genuine cases, I see no reason why you cannot go forward for long term solutions such as a green card.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Petition for grand parents

i just wanted to do an inquiry regarding a petition, my mother is petition of my grand parents and the papers are approve they will travel along with my sister this coming December 15, 2013 my question is.. It is possible for me to follow them instead coming with her on the same flight?

Petition for grand parents

I am not sure of the details of your case, but the law does permit beneficiaries to travel separately. Check out the FAQ at CBP.Gov

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GC holder needs to bring spouse

Dear Rajiv,

I successfully received my green card through NIW EB-2. I am planning to go to Iran and marry my fiance in the coming summer, and bring her to US. I checked the USCIS website for the procedures, and I Googled it to see what the normal process is and how much time it takes, but I was shocked when I saw all these limitations! There is no clear info on the USCIS site about waiting times for I-130 petition to get approval, but people say it may take 2-5 years!! This is scary!! I thought the regulations would be easier for me if I am a green card holder, but now I see it would be much easier to bring my wife if I was still on an F-1 visa. Is there any way for me as a green card holder to bring my spouse on a visa to live with me while the 1-130 is pending? Please help and let me know what the best and fastest way is for me to take now.

I really appreciate your time.

Times are not bad. It should

Times are not bad. It should take under a year, normally. See http://www.immigration.com/visa-bulletin<

But, admittedly there are several variables in processing times.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

affidavit of support

My friend sponsered his parents 5 years back and they got green card. Now he is sponsoring his wife and girl.
On his income requirement to sponser... will the parents be counted as dependent or not.

affidavit of support

I do not know off hand. I will have to review the form. Check the instructions on the form. Usually, they provide sufficient guidance.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

F1 Family First preference

Hi , I am an Irish/British citizen who entered the US in April 2000 my father who gained US citizenship applied for me via the F1 visa, I left the US in April of 2009 to attend University in the UK, I have since graduated and gotten news that my application is finally due for processing, I have paid all the fees required when asked and just submitted the DS-260 as my father is about to submit the I-864EZ Affidavit of support. Given the fact that I obviously overstayed and a 10 year ban is in efect from when I left the US , Do I still have a chance to receive a Green Card from my application?

F1 Family First preference

I believe unlawful presence before you reached the age of 18 does not count.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Greencard through parents

My situation is such: My mother won a green card though DV lottery, so my family now resides in the US. I was ineligible to go to the interview with her because I have a 2 year home residency requirement from my previous J1 visa (Since J1, I've been in the US on F1 student visa). Now I'm hoping to waive my 2yr requirement. If I do that, is there any way for me to fasten up the process of getting a green card through parents (F2B)? When my mom won a greencard, I was still under 21 and I was mentioned as a beneficiary in her visa interview letter. Can this help in any way? Thanks ahead!

Greencard through parents

I do not know the answer offhand. Sorry.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

AOS

My sister will be applying for AOS for my parents and I. I am 23years old. Can someone tell me how long would it take for me to get my green card as well as how long it would take for me to get my work permit. (Average time would be helpful). Thank you.

AOS

Many years. Check the visa bulletin for approximate times to file AOS: http://www.immigration.com/visa-bulletin<

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Prevent I-130 termination

My original I-130 (sibling) application was grand fathered under 245(I) (Apr 2001); unfortunately, I had to leave US for medical emergency (now cured) in 2008. However since I left US in 2008, the 10 year bar has been applied and my immigrant visa application was rejected at consular processing in Mumbai in April 2013.

The consulate has advised that my I-130 might go in termination process after one year.

Could you please advise how could I prevent termination of I-130? Are there any options available to receive wavier of inadmissibility for 10 year bar under humanitarian grounds?

Prevent I-130 termination

You should set up a consultation for the possibility of a waiver. Absent some extreme circumstances of hardship to eligible US citizen or green-card holding members of immediate family, such as parents, it may be impossible to get a waiver. Remember, hardship to you does not count.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Mother's Green Card

I'm a naturalized Citizen, and applied for my mother's Green card the end of April. I've received a Case # from USCIS, but haven't heard from them since then. How do I know if it's been processed and how long more do I have to wait?

Mother's Green Card

Call USCIS customer service, Smeilla.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Petition for a parent who abandoned his gc 7 yrs ago

Im a naturalized citizen and would like to apply for my dad to become a perm.resident.He used to be a green card holder but in 2006 he left for the philippines and never came back here.Can i apply for a gc for him?

Petition for a parent who abandoned his gc 7 yrs ago

You can apply again. No problem.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

GC for Sister

Hello, i would like to know how sooner i need to file GC for my sister? i am hearing some news saying there will be new rule and we citizens will not be able to file GC for brother/sister. Is that correct? if so when do u suggest me to file for my sister?

GC for Sister

There is no change in the law yet. But this provision was passed in S. 744, the Senate immigration reform Bill. In any case, if you are going to apply, you should do it as early as you can. But do understand that her options for nonimmigrant visa will then be limited, in all probability.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Can someone tell me how long

Can someone tell me how long it takes for a sibling to get through? Thank you.

Can someone tell me how long

Over ten years. See the Visa Bulletin: http://www.immigration.com/visa-bulletin<

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Pending forms

Hello my name is rolanda myrick and iam married to an immigrant(sierra leone)and we have applied for pemament residency along with someother documents whie for the out come of the status he received a temporarily work permit during that time he applied for a non drivers id which both the non drvers id and work permit has expired what can we do to get another causehe needs a id to walk the street please get back with me thank you.

Pending forms

Drivers licenses are a matter of State law, Rolanda. Different procedures in different States.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Naturalized Citizen sponsoring parents

Hello!

I'm a brand new citizen and I'm filing papers to bring my parents from England to NY to live with my husband and our 4 children.
As I understand it once they get their interview and medical stuff out of the way, and get granted their visa, they enter as Legal Permanent residences correct?
So my question is: once they get granted their visa, how long do they have to enter the US? They have a flat they need to sell and family to say goodbye to so it would be good to know they have at least a few weeks!

Thanks in advance :)

Naturalized Citizen sponsoring parents

They will enter the USA as permanent residents. The duration of the immigrant visa is stated on the visa stamp (I think it will be 6 months) and they must enter the USA within that time.. They can come and leave after they get their green card in the USA. Read the instructions on the Form I-131 for reentry permit if they expect to be gone for 6 months or more, Marie-Ann.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Supplement to Form I-485A

I applied for AOS based on family (husband) and received a letter with Request for Initial Evidence, asked to submit one of the following: *Evidence of lawful admission to US. OR * If you entered the US without inspection, you must submit evidence of your eligibility for adjustment of status under section 245(i) of the INA.* I have been in U.S. since 1997, arrived on F-1 visa, then EAD, then F-1 again, then G-4. My most recent I-94 is dated July 28, 2013. While I arrived in the U.S. in 1997 as a student, I have always maintained lawful presence. What should I do in this case? Thank you

Supplement to Form I-485A

They are looking to make sure you entered the USA legally, whenever you entered the last time. If you do not have a lawyer, call USCIS customer service for guidance, Angela.

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F1 to green card through marriage - can I drop classes?

My boyfriend has an oath ceremony at the end of September, and we are planning to get married right after it. Currently I am enrolled in a local college but I would like to drop my classes since I am taking them just to maintain my legal status. After that I am supposed to stay in the US only for 15 days. Today is the last day to drop classes and get a full refund, which is several thousand dollars. Will I have any problems afterwards because of this, when applying for a green card?
Thanks!

F1 to green card through marriage - can I drop classes?

Please consult a lawyer one on one. This can be problematic, or may present absolutely no issue depending upon your details.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Green card

My parents hold Green Card but I am over 21. Right now I am getting my H1B visa, is it possible to do an AOS and remain in the US while getting my GC? how long does it take?

Green card

You can file for AOS only when your priority date becomes current.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Name change after the marriage and GC filing

Hi,
I am planning on taking my husband's last name after our wedding. I am on H1B and also want to file for GC right after the marriage. What is the easiest way of changing my last name in this process? Before applying for GC or after? What documents (with my new name) should be provided for filing the GC? Do I have to have my new passport (with new name on it) first? please advise.

1-130

hello! my husband is an american citizen so i apply for the I-130 in June 2013. Now am planning visiting the US in September (already got the tickets) and am planing stay there for 6 months and then return home until my green card is approved. I want to know if it ok for me to travel and if anyone had a similar experience to share! p.s i contact my embassy but not much help and my husband went personally to the USCIS office where they advise him to contact the embassy !! any replies will be much help specially for me to stop worry! thank you in advance.

1-130

Christine, which country are you coming from and on what kind of visa?

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Process after getting immigrant visa

Hello, my mom is currently in the US. She entered based on the Immigration Visa on her passport and gave the sealed packet at the port of entry. We went to to the SSN office but were told that we need to wait for the SSN to come (via mail? - they had no clue). She wants to leave in the next few weeks. Questions:
1. Can she reenter without a physical GC in hand? She was told it takes 6-8 mons to come at port of entry.
2. How do we get her SSN? Is it mailed automatically?
3. What else should I be aware of before she leaves the US?

Very confused here,so i appreciate any help here.Thanks so much

Process after getting immigrant visa

Rohit, make an inforpass appointment and get her passport stamped for temporary proof of green card. She can travel with that. Normally, the physical GC takes just a few weeks. I am not concerned about SSN. That will arrive eventually. But do review my blog videos about I-131 and maintaining green card, etc.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Nationality changed

Hi i am Indian born Australian Citizen, my parents filed petition in year 2005 that time i was an Indian Citizen but now my status been changed, as on today I am Australian Citizen..
now, how it affect if i change my status from Indian to Australian in my existing Petition, Positive or negative? I mean, should i get priority or it remain same or do i need to do all paper work from scratch

Nationality changed

No effect at all. The country of birth controls.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Options to enter inside USA after GC approval

I am married for 7 yrs and living in US on H1B.We applied for EAD, AP and Adjustment of status in 2011, my husband as principal applicant and me as derivative. My husband applied for divorce last year So I have come back to India. My AP is expired and my employer is not sending me for stamping as I took break of 7 months from employment. My green card is approved and is in card production status. My husband will not apply for H4. So I have no AP, H4 and H1B stamping.
So What are my possible options to come inside USA?
Within how many days I should enter into USA to not to loose my green card?

Options to enter inside USA after GC approval

Join me in the free community conference call tomorrow.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

CR1

i got married to US national year back n came to US 7 mths back but my wife is fall out of love with me, so if we get separated as she is all the time keep on saying we done and since i am on CR1 category do i have to back to india or can still get green card what is the procedure and how much will it cost to hire a professional

and if on green card n than get separated does it affect my chances of citizenship in near future

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