Applying for a Family-based Green Card

Family-Based Green Card Application

family-based green card

Are you planning to request a family-based green card? Then this is for you! In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know to get your family-based green card

There are a variety of ways you can apply for a green card in the U.S.: 

A family-based petition is the most common way to apply for a Green Card. In 2019, almost 69% of the people that got a green card did it through a family-based petition.

The Process of Applying for a Family-Based Green Card

The first thing you need to apply for this type of green card, as its name mentions, is for you to be related to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident

You need to fall into a handful of eligible relationships with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to apply for a green card. And these options are divided into two categories: immediate relatives and family preference.

Immediate Relative Category

For the immediate relative category, there are only three options, and those are:

  • the spouse of a USC
  • unmarried children (under age 21) of a USC (can be by adoption or step-relationship)
  • parents of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old

And that’s it. This is a particular category partly because an immigrant visa is always available for this group.

Besides the time it could take to submit your paperwork, the immediate relatives aren’t subject to the long waits that other types of visas face, so there is practically no wait for this visa.

Family Preference Category

The rest of the eligible family members fall into the family preference category. There is usually a longer wait period for this category, and that’s because there is a limit for these visas available each year.

The members that can fall into this category are: 

  • Unmarried, adult sons and daughters (age 21 or over) of U.S. citizens
  • Spouses and unmarried children (under age 21) of lawful permanent residents
  • Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents
  • Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens
  • Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens

This means that you can’t directly petition grandparents, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, cousins, and in-laws. Now, if you have a relative that falls into one of those categories, you can start the process, and the first part of this is that your qualifying family member must request an immigrant visa to be made available to you. 

Regardless of your family-based category, an immigrant petition must be filed. This is made by submitting an I-130 form, Petition for Alien Relative, with the U.S. Government.

This form will establish a qualifying relationship and make the request for the visa to be set aside.

Like I mentioned before, an immediate relative will always have a visa available. Meanwhile, a family preference relative could wait a few months to several years to get their visa. This can depend on how many people are also waiting in the same category and other factors.

Requesting a Green Card Visa

Consular Processing

The next step for requesting the green card comes after the visa petition, under the form I-130, has been approved and an immigrant visa is available.

It is now that the family member can request the green card, and you can request it both inside and outside the U.S. If you want to request your green card outside the U.S., the most common thing is to go to an embassy or consulate. This is known as consular processing

You will need to submit your application and all the required documentation to the National Visa Center or embassy. Then a consular interview will take place by an embassy officer before conceding the visa. 

Adjustment of Status

On the other hand, to apply for a visa inside the U.S., the main requirement is to enter the country lawfully. This way, you could use the adjustment of status process to apply for your green card.

To do this, you must already have an immigrant visa available. This type of adjustment is usually more common to immediate relatives since a visa is always available. Still, since every case is different, there can be an option for family preference immigrants to get their green card inside the U.S., too, although this is less common.

All of this may sound simple enough, but it’s always good to have someone with the knowledge and expertise on your side to help you check all the needed forms, make sure all the qualifications are in order, and help you create the package you will need to submit your request. Our New Jersey immigration attorneys can help you with your green card application. Call us at 888-695-6169 to schedule an appointment today.

What to Do If Your Application Gets Denied

Because this is one of the most common ways to get a green card, the USCIS rejects almost 10% of all the applications right away because something is missing, or it was done incorrectly, e.g., not signing the forms or an incorrect filing fee. 

USCIS denies many more applications and sometimes puts people into removal proceedings when they deny an application.  

If you want to talk about your case, have any doubts about this process, or have other immigration concerns such as applying for a marriage visa, DACA, or VAWA, don’t hesitate to call our New Jersey immigration law firm.

We can talk about your specific case, and if we can’t help you, we won’t take your money. Schedule a consultation with us today!

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