FAMILY- BASED VISA

Overview

A lawful permanent resident is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of permanently living and working in the United States. If you want to become a lawful permanent resident based on the fact that you have a relative who is a citizen of the United States or a relative who is a Lawful Permanent Resident, you must go through a multi-step process.

First, the USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition for you. This petition is filed by your relative (sponsor) and must be accompanied by proof of your relationship to the requesting relative.

Second, the Department of State must determine if an immigrant visa number is immediately available to you, the foreign national, even if you are already in the United States. When an immigrant visa number becomes immediately available to you, it means that you can apply to have one of the immigrant visa numbers assigned to you. You can check the status of a visa number in the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin.

Third, if you are already in the United States, you may apply to change your status to that of a lawful permanent resident after a visa number becomes available for you. This is one way you can apply to secure an immigrant visa number. If you are outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available for you, you must then go to the U.S. consulate servicing the area in which you reside to complete your processing. This is the other way in which you can apply to secure an immigrant visa number.

* Note: Information concerning the new K (advance admission for the spouse and children of a U.S. citizen) and new V (advance admission for the spouse and the minor children of a lawful permanent resident) nonimmigrant categories is available but not yet incorporated here.
Eligibility

To be eligible to sponsor a relative to immigrate to the United States you must meet the following criteria:

– You must be a citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States and be able to provide documentation proving your status.

– You must prove that you can support your relative at 125% above the mandated poverty line.

– If you are a US Citizen you may petition for the following foreign national relatives to immigrate to the United States; however you must be able to provide proof of the relationships:

– Husband or wife;
– Unmarried child under 21 years old;
– Unmarried son or daughter over 21;
– Married son or daughter of any age;
– Brother or sister, if you are at least 21 years old; or
– Parent, if you are at least 21 years old.

If you are a lawful permanent resident you may petition for the following foreign national relatives to immigrate to the United States; however you must be able to provide proof of the relationships:

– Husband or wife; or
– Unmarried son or daughter of any age.
To be eligible for lawful permanent residence based on a family relationship you must meet the following criteria:

– You must have a relative who is a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States who can provide documentation proving their status and is willing to sponsor you for lawful permanent residency by filing the Petition for Alien Relative.

– Your relative must prove they can support you by providing documentation that their income is 125% above the mandated poverty line for their family, including you and all other sponsored family members.

– If your relative is a US Citizen and they can legally prove you share one of the following relationships, you may be eligible for lawful permanent residency, please see below for preference category information.

– Husband or wife;
– child under 21 years old;
– Unmarried son or daughter over 21;
– Married son or daughter of any age;
– Brother or sister if you are at least 21 years old; or
– Parents if you are at least 21 years old.
If your relative is a lawful permanent resident and they can legally prove you share one of the following relationships, you may be eligible for lawful permanent residence, please see below for preference category information:

– Husband or wife; or
– Unmarried son or daughter of any age.
Immediate Relatives: The spouse, parents and unmarried children under age 21 of a U.S. citizen qualify for Permanent Resident status immediately and are not counted in the U.S. Immigrant Visa Quota System. The U.S. citizen must petition the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) for this Immediate Relative Classification, then the foreign national relative can apply for Permanent Resident status in the United States.

Preference Categories

The relative you wish to immigrate must obtain an immigrant visa number that is based on the preference category in which they fall.

People who want to become immigrants are classified into categories based on a preference system. The immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, which includes parents, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available once the visa petition filed for them is approved by the USCIS. An immigrant visa number will be immediately available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. The relatives in the remaining categories must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available according to the following preferences:

First Preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. Adult means 21 years of age or older.

Second Preference: Spouses of lawful permanent residents, their unmarried children (under twenty-one), and the unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents.

Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.

Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens.
Once USCIS receives your visa petition, it will be approved or denied. USCIS will notify the person who filed the visa petition if the visa petition is approved. USCIS will then send the approved visa petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, where it will remain until an immigrant visa number is available. The Center will notify you, the foreign national, when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is available. You do not need to contact the National Visa Center, unless you change your address or there is a change in your personal situation, or that of your alien relative, that may affect eligibility for an immigrant visa, such as reaching age 21, marriage, divorce, or death of a spouse.

How Do I File a Petition for my Family Member?

The Law Office of Paul B. Christensen will be pleased to process your Family based Visa Petition on behalf of your family as sponsor. Our law office will carefully analyze your case and make recommendations on the most appropriate process for you or your company to pursue. We then assist with preparing documents and letters, continuing the case through the Adjustment of Status or consular processing stage, until the principal applicant and family members receive the Green Card.

How Can I Check the Status of My Application?

Click on the menu button to the left, labeled “Check Case Status” and enter your file number.

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