U.S. immigration law allows United States citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to petition and have their qualifying relatives receive green cards based on their relationship. At Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, we have experienced family immigration lawyers who help clients near you to successfully navigate the complex U.S. immigration process.
The process you will go through to obtain a family-based green card and how long it will take depends on what category under which your application is filed. There are two broad family categories under which most family members apply, and these are the “immediate relatives” category and the “family preference” category.
You are considered and deemed to be an immediate relative of a United States citizen if you are in any of the following close relationships with a U.S. citizen:
If you are one of these relationships, then you can apply for a green card, and your application will be processed much faster than anyone who applies for permanent residency (green card) through any of the other family categories or other bases of applying to become a green card holder.
Family members of U.S. citizens who are not immediate relatives as described above or who are relatives of green card holders are eligible to apply for permanent residency if they fall in any of the following preference categories:
The family member who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder must first file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In the case of the immediate family relationship, the petition can be filed together with an application for a green card for the qualifying relative.
When filing a petition for a qualifying relative in the immediate family category, the couple will normally be called in for an interview to establish the bona fide nature of the marital or parental relationship. In the preference category, the visa petition may be approved without an interview, but the couple or qualifying relative will be interviewed at the time their application for a green card is being considered.
If you are applying for a family-based green card, contact us today for a consultation to discuss your circumstances and the way forward.