Friday, October 15, 2010

Family Immigration - Understanding The Process

A lawful permanent resident has the authorization to permanently live and work in the United States. As a proof of the permanent resident status the individual is given an identification or an authorization card which is commonly called as Green Card . There are many ways in obtaining permanent residence status in the United States. One such way is through Family Immigration. Family based immigration allows an individual to become a permanent resident through a family member who is a US Citizen or a Permanent Resident of United States. The United States allows U.S. citizens and permanent residents to petition for their relatives to come and live permanently in the US.

Family Based Green Card

Obtaining a green card through family immigration is a two step process. The first step is filing the Family Immigration Petition form I-130 where the sponsor must establish a qualifying relationship with the immigrant. The second step is filing the green card application. The second step is not needed if the sponsor is a US Citizen and the immigrant is the spouse or parent or minor child who is currently in the US. Other immigrants who do not fall in this category must go through both the process .

If the sponsor is a U.S. Citizen, the applicant may be able to get a green card if he/she is the immediate relative or the family member of the US Citizen. If the applicant is the spouse (husband or wife), or the child (unmarried and under 21 years old), or the parent (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years or older) of a U.S. Citizen then they are called as Immediate Relatives. An applicant is called the Family Member of a U.S. citizen if he/she is an unmarried son or daughter (21 years or older) , a married son or daughter (any age) or a sibling (brother or sister) of a U.S. citizen.

If the Family Member is a Permanent Residents, the applicant may be able to get a green card if he/she is the immediate relative of the Permanent Resident. If the applicant is the spouse of a Green Card holder, or the child (unmarried and under 21 years old / above 21 years) of a Green Card parents, then the applicant is called an Immediate Relative.

To sponsor a family member, the sponsor must meet the following eligibility criteria.

  • The sponsor must be either a US Citizen or a Permanent Resident of the US and a document must be provided as proof for such status.
  • must have a qualifying relationship with the immigrant.
  • must be willing to sponsor the immigrant by filing the family immigration form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)
  • must prove that he/she will be able to support the immigrant and other sponsored family members financially at 125% above the mandatory poverty line.

If the applicant is inside US during the family immigration ins application process, he/she may qualify to adjust status to Permanent Resident without returning to their home country. Or if the applicant is outside US, then he/she may be eligible for Consular processing through a Consulate or through an US Embassy that has jurisdiction over their foreign place of residence.

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