Do You Need a Family-Based Green Card?


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Each year in the United States, over half a million people apply for family-based green cards. Foreigners who have a relative that’s a U.S. citizen can receive sponsorship to come to America and apply for permanent residency through certain government programs under family-based immigration laws.

When applying for family-based green cards, immigrants are put into preference categories that identify their relationship with their U.S. sponsor. According to preference categories, family members who are U.S. citizens may sponsor their spouses, parents, brothers and sisters, children and adopted children, and married and unmarried sons and daughters. Family members living in the U.S. as permanent residents, rather than U.S. citizens, can only sponsor their spouses, children, and unmarried adult sons and daughters. Under current immigration policies, the following sponsorship rules apply:

Spouses

A U.S. citizen may sponsor their foreign-born spouse for a marriage-based green card. Spouses are considered “immediate relatives” and are not subject to required waiting periods for immigrant visa numbers or yearly immigration quotas established by the U.S. government.

Parents

A U.S. citizen may sponsor one or both of their parents for family-based green cards. Parents are considered “immediate relatives” and are not subject to required waiting periods for immigrant visa numbers or yearly immigration quotas established by the U.S. government.

Brothers and Sisters

A U.S. citizen who is over the age of 21 may sponsor their brothers and/or sisters for green cards. Brothers and sisters fall under the “family preference” category, so they are subject to visa waiting periods and yearly immigration quotas established by law.

Children and Adopted Children

A U.S. citizen may sponsor their children and adopted children for green cards. Natural children and adopted children who are not married and under the age of 21 are considered “immediate relatives” who are not subject to visa waiting periods and yearly immigration quotas. If adopted children were born in a foreign country that country’s laws and restrictions related to immigration policies may apply.

Married and Unmarried Adult Sons and Daughters

A U.S. citizen may sponsor their married and unmarried adult sons and daughters for green cards. If adult children are married, they may be sponsored at any age. If they are unmarried, they must be over the age of 21. Both married and unmarried sons and daughters fall under the “family preference” category, so they are subject to visa waiting periods and yearly immigration quotas.

If you are a U.S. citizen with relatives living in a foreign country, a family-based green card can bring them to America, but strict laws and corporate governance for immigration policies and procedures must be followed. An immigration lawyer can help you with immigration paperwork and filing deadlines. For legal solutions, check www.mitratech.com.


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