Who Can Sponsor A Family Based Green Card?
Within the family category, there is a visa bulletin that is issued by the State Department and they post the quotas in the family category every month online, determining who can qualify. There are three relatives that are not tied to a quota and are entitled to Immediate Relative (IR) status of a green card: the spouse of a US citizen, the parents of a US citizen, and the minor children under the care of a US citizen. When those petitions are filed, those people are immediately eligible for their green card and they are not listed on the visa bulletin.
On the visa bulletin, they break down the numbers of the categories. The F-1 category is for unmarried children of US citizens over the age of 21. Currently, they are backlogged from 2012. People who filed a petition for their children in the year 2012 are now being processed for a green card. The next category is the F-2 category and it has 2 parts. The F-2A is for the spouse and minor children of a lawful permanent resident. If you have a green card and you are married, you petition for your spouse without waiting for citizenship. That is backlogged about three years at this time. If you petition for your spouse today, in three years’ time, they can file for the green card.
The next category is the F-2B, which is unmarried children over 21 of a green card holder. Then, there is the F-3, which is the married sons and daughters of a US citizen. The last category is the F-4 for siblings. If you are a US citizen, you can apply for your brothers and sisters and, if they’re married, their families as well. In the immigration process, the age of 21 is critical. Once someone passes the age of 21, they can no longer get a benefit through their parents.
Currently, President Trump wants to move away from the family category in the United States Immigration system. There is conversation of eliminating the parent category. If anyone is thinking about sponsoring their parents, they should act quickly to get the process going.
Who Is Considered Family On A Family Based Green Card?
Family is usually either parents, children, or siblings. As children, once you’re married, it changes. If you’re under 21 but married, you lose that minor child category. Then, we have the issue of step children. If you are married and the child is under the age of 18 at the time of marriage, it becomes the child of the US citizen. In the immigrant category, one of the downsides is that you can only apply for that immigrant. If want to petition for your father and your stepmother, you cannot. You can apply for your father but you cannot file for your stepmother. In other words, if you want to file for both of your parents, there are two separate filings. You’d have to do one for your father and one for your mother.
The requirements are also slightly different. When you’re petitioning for your mother, all you really need is your birth certificate. When you petition for your father, you need a birth certificate and you also have to prove that your father is your father by a DNA test or with proof that your parents were married at the time of your birth. If you were adopted, that would terminate the biological relationships and you could not sponsor your biological parents.
To review, under the current provisions provided by United States immigration law, family-based immigrant visa categories are divided into two categories: immediate relatives and family preference. An experienced immigration lawyer should advise you on which category applies to you and your family member. Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas are family-based visas that are not at all limited in quantity and those family members include:
- IR-1: The spouses of U.S. citizens
- IR-2: Unmarried children of U.S. citizens under the age of 21
- IR-3: An orphan who was adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen
- IR-4: An orphan who will be adopted by a U.S. citizen in the U.S.
- IR-5: The parents of a U.S. Citizen over the age of 21
Family Preference Immigrant Visas are those visas that are limited in quantity on an annual basis. These are the family visa types that cover the more distant relatives, such as:
- F1: Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens, as well as their minor children.
- F2: The spouses, minor children, and adult unmarried children over the age of 21 of lawful permanent residents. Seventy-seven percent or more of these visas must be given to spouses and to minor children.
- F3: Married adult children of a U.S. citizens, along with their spouses and their minor children.
- F4: The siblings of a U.S. citizen over the age of 21, along with their spouses and their minor children.
Even more distant relatives, such as grandparents, aunts, or cousins are not currently permitted to sponsor a family based green card. It is imperative to work with a reputable immigration law attorney through all the steps of your immigration journey.
How To Sponsor A Family Based Green Card
There are certain steps that must be very carefully followed in order for a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to be able to sponsor their family member. These steps include:
- File a visa petition.
- Wait for USCIS to make a decision regarding your visa petition.
- Wait until a family preference visa becomes available, if applicable.
- The immigrant then applies for a visa or green card.
Step One: File The Petition
In order to sponsor a family based green card, the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident must mail in a visa petition on official USCIS Form I-130. Also included must be the necessary accompanying documents to be reviewed. The U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident must prove that the family relationship between themselves and the immigrant applicant is genuine.
Step Two: Wait For The USCIS Decision
Once USCIS receives your visa petition, the officers will decide whether to approve or deny your request. If your petition is approved, the file will be sent to the National Visa Center to continue the process. If your petition is denied, you may file a new petition incorporating any necessary changes that needed to be made for approval.
Step Three: Wait For An Available Visa, If Applicable
If applying for a family preference visa, a waiting period will most likely be necessary. Non-immediate relatives are not eligible for immediate permanent residence; there are annual limits on the number of Green Cards in these categories that can be approved. Most immigrants will wait a year or more before learning whether or not a visa is available.
Step Four: Visa Or Green Card Application
If a petition has been approved and a visa has become available, when seeking a family preference visa, the immigrant would be required to submit an application for permanent residence. Typically, this happens at a U.S. consulate outside of the United States. Once in the United States, the immigrant would be able to apply for a green card.
Green Card Naturalization
Naturalization is the process through which U.S. citizenship can be granted to an immigrant after all legal requirements have been satisfied, including:
- Permanent resident status for five years or longer.
- Permanent resident status for three years or more in addition to meeting all the eligibility requirements necessary to file as the spouse of a U.S. citizen.
- Serving in a qualifying capacity in the U.S. armed forces.
Edib Law, Offering Family Immigration Services
Immigration law attorney, Timur Edib, is located in Tampa, FL but practices immigration law in all 50 states and worldwide. Edib Law offers immigration consultations anywhere in the world, utilizing technology in order to do so reliably. If you are struggling to understand your all your immigration options or you are facing the threat of possible deportation proceedings, please do not hesitate to contact the Edib Law today, no matter where in the world you may currently be located. If you are overwhelmed by the process when attempting to sponsor a family based green card, call today. Attorney Timur Edib and the expert staff at Edib Law are here to guide you through your immigration journey with dignity and respect.
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