Green Card Sponsorship for Families
US citizens may be able to sponsor certain relatives for immigration to the US.
After a qualifying relationship has been established, Immediate Relatives of US citizens may immediately be eligible to immigrate to the US. Immediate relatives of US citizens include parents (if the petitioning US citizen child is at least 21 years of age), spouses, widows, and children (who are unmarried and under 21 years of age).
Green Card Sponsorship for Families and Family Preference Category
The other qualifying relatives of US citizens are divided into three Preference Categories, which are:
- 1st Preference – Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens
- 2nd Preference – Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens
- 3rd Preference – Siblings of Citizens
Each preference category is allotted a certain number of immigrant visas per year. Those who fall into categories where visa numbers are backlogged will need to wait for a visa number to become available before they can immigrate to the US.
How US Citizens Can Sponsor Their Family
US citizens who would like to obtain a green card for their family member can make this request by completing and submitting Form I-130, also known as Petition For Alien Relative.
Once a Form I-130 is approved, a priority date is set for your relative. This priority date is often far into the future. When the priority date becomes current, your family member may apply for an immigrant visa which will allow them to enter the US and receive their green card. Someone in the preference system is generally not eligible to file for a green card from within the US. Additionally, if your family member makes changes in their life, such as becoming married or unmarried, it can change their preference category. If you have questions about what process applies to your relative, please speak to an experienced immigration attorney.
Understanding Your Priority Date
Visa numbers are issued in the order of the priority date for immigrant petitions – the priority date is the date that the sponsor’s immigrant petition for the relative was received by US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Because there is a much higher demand for immigrant visas for persons from China, the Dominican Republic, India, Mexico and the Philippines, there is a much longer wait for priority dates to become current for family members from these countries. Once the priority date for a petition becomes current, the relative-beneficiary will be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa.
The priority dates for the preference categories are updated monthly, and available through the Visa Bulletin, a publication of the US Department of State.
It is important to note that priority dates do not necessarily progress in real time. For example, while the backlog for a family-based third preference category petition may currently be 10 years, the actual wait for your family member could be shorter or may be much longer.
Talk To A Syracuse Immigration Lawyer First About Green Card Sponsorship for Families
Certain eligibility standards must be met for green card sponsorship for family members. Because the process can take years, it’s important to have a complete understanding of your options.
Rebecca Cohen can provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your specific situation. She has years of experience and knowledge to review your relevant paperwork and provide you with in-depth guidance on next steps, all as part of our initial consultation.
To schedule your initial consultation, contact today.
Come Together With Help From An Experienced Immigration Lawyer
For many years, our team has helped families and couples come together by guiding our clients through the immigration system. We offer an initial, no obligation consultation. In this consultation, we’ll review your relevant paperwork and provide assistance for your specific situation. We’ll help you to avoid common problems that can delay your family or significant other from coming to the U.S. for years.