FirstAmericanImmigrationCenter

Family

SPOUSE, FIANCE, CHILDREN, PARENTS, SIBLINGS, family preference

Family

Bringing a spouse to the US to be a permanent resident can be an extremely daunting process as many factors can come into play.  Is your spouse still living abroad or are you both in the United States?  Did your spouse come here on a visa?  Has he/she overstayed their visa?  Did they come undocumented?  All of these factors affect how the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) processes your case. Is the Petitioner/Sponsor a U.S. Citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR)? Both the Petitioner and the Beneficiary (foreign spouse) must establish their eligibility before USCIS as their status affects how the foreign spouse’s green card is processed.

Visa Preference: IR-1, F-2

Same-Sex Couples

A person who is married to a U.S. citizen or LPR of the same-sex can qualify for immigration as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or LPR, regardless of the place of marriage or current place of residence. Under federal guidelines, USCIS will honor the ‘place of celebration’ when determining eligibility for immigration benefits for same-sex couples; meaning that so long as the marriage was solemnized in a country where such a marriage is legal, USCIS will honor such marriages as valid.

Removing Conditions on Green Card

When you become a permanent resident due to your recent marriage to a U.S. citizen or LPR, you will get a “conditional” green card that expires in two years. Within 90 days of this expiration date, you and your spouse are expected to jointly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Doing so will allow you to remain in the United States. After your application is approved, your conditional resident status will be converted to permanent residence.

What USCIS is looking for is that you have a “bone fide marriage.”  This can be established by providing a solid evidentiary history by providing documents and photographs proving your marriage is “real.”

However, filing this petition and gaining this approval can be difficult if your spouse is physically or emotionally abusive – especially if he or she is using your immigration status, and his or her cooperation in obtaining a green card, as a way to control you. The good news is that the law offers a way to deal with this situation. After your I-751 is approved and you become a permanent resident, your right to live and work in the U.S. cannot be taken away based on you no longer being with your spouse.

The Fiancé(e) or K-1 visas is for U.S. Citizens ONLY who meet and wish to marry a foreign national.  This is a complicated.  A small mistake in your paperwork could cause long delays in the processing of your paper.  For starters the Fiancé(e) visa is only available to petitioners who are U.S. Citizens.  You must also prove to USCIS that you intend to marry within 90 days of the alien Fiancé(e) arriving in the United States.  You will have to prove that you are involved in a bone fide relationship.  USCIS will review all the documentary evidence you provide them up to and including social media.

Visa Preference: IR-1

Same-Sex Couples

A person who is married to a U.S. citizen of the same-sex can qualify for immigration as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, regardless of the place of marriage or current place of residence. Under federal guidelines, USCIS will honor the ‘place of celebration’ when determining eligibility for immigration benefits for same-sex couples; meaning that so long as the marriage was solemnized in a country where such a marriage is legal, USCIS will honor such marriages as valid.

Removing Conditions on Green Card

If you become a U.S. resident due to your recent marriage to a U.S. citizen, you will get a “conditional” green card that expires in just two years. Within 90 days of this expiration date, you and your spouse are expected to jointly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Doing so will allow you to remain in the United States. After your application is approved, your conditional resident status will be converted to permanent residence.

But filing this petition and gaining this approval can be difficult if your spouse is physically or emotionally abusive – especially if he or she is using your immigration status, and his or her cooperation in obtaining the green card, as a way to control you. The good news is that the law offers a way to deal with this situation. And after your I-751 is approved and you become a permanent resident, your right to live and work in the U.S. cannot be taken away based on you no longer being with your spouse.

When bringing Children, Sons and Daughters to live in the United States as Permanent Residents the age and marital status of your children are critical factors in the immigration process. For immigration purposes, a “child” is defined as being unmarried and under 21, whereas if a person is married and/or over 21, that person is defined as a “son” or “daughter”.

Visa Preference: IR-2, IR-3, IR-4, F-1, F-3

If you are a United States Citizen, you may petition for:

  • Children (unmarried and under 21) (IR-2)
  • Unmarried sons and daughters (21 or over) – Your son or daughter’s child(ren) may be included on this petition. (F-1)
  • Married sons and daughters (any age) – Your son or daughter’s spouse and/or child(ren) may be included on this petition. (F-3)

If you are a Legal Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder), you may petition for:

  • Children (unmarried and under 21) – Your child’s child(ren) may be included on this petition.
  • Unmarried sons and daughters (21 or over) – Your son or daughter’s child(ren) may be included on this petition.

Unmarried Adult Children

The only distinction in eligibility between a child in this category and a child of an “immediate relative of a U.S. citizen” is that the child in this category is over 21 years old. That means to qualify as a “child” in this category, the person must be the son or daughter of a U.S. citizen, who is unmarried and over the age of 21.

An adopted child qualifies as long as the adoption was finalized before the child’s 16th birthday, the adoptive parents have legal custody of the child for two years (before or after the adoption), and the child resides with the adoptive parents for two years (before or after the adoption).

A stepchild qualifies as long as the marriage occurred before the stepchild’s 18th birthday.

Immediate family members of the unmarried alien child may also apply for a green card with the child.

The annual visa allotment available for this preference is 23,400, plus any visas not used by the fourth preference.

Married Adult Children of U.S. Citizens

This category is designed for the married children of U.S. citizens regardless of his or her age. That means to qualify as a “child” in this category, the person must be the son or daughter of a U.S. citizen, who is married.

Adopted child qualifies as long as the adoption was finalized before the child’s 16th birthday, the adoptive parents have legal custody of the child for two years (before or after the adoption), and the child resides with the adoptive parents for two years (before or after the adoption).

A stepchild qualifies as long as the marriage had occurred before the stepchild’s 18th birthday.

Immediate family members of the married alien child can also apply for a green card with the child.

The annual visa allotment available for this preference is 23,400, plus any visas not used by the first and the second preference.

The Parents of U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for permanent residency as immediate relatives if the petitioning citizen is 21 years of age or older.

To qualify, the parent of a U.S. citizen must meet the same eligibility requirements as for a child of a US Citizen, except that the petitioning citizen can be married.

 

Adopted Parents

If the U.S. citizen is adopted, the adoption must have been finalized before the child’s 16th birthday, the parent must have had physical custody of the child for two years (before or after the adoption), and the child must have resided with the adoptive parent for two years (before or after the adoption).

If the U.S. citizen is a stepchild of the alien parent, the current marriage must have taken place before the child’s 18th birthday.

Step-Parents

If the stepparent and parent are no longer together, as long as the relationship between stepparent and stepchild had continued even after the divorce, the stepparent is still eligible for applying as an immediate relative.

Visa Preference: IR-5

To apply for a green card for a brother or sister, the petitioner must be a US Citizen and 21 years of age or older. Furthermore, to qualify as a brother or sister of a U.S. citizen, both the brother or sister and the U.S. citizen must have at least one parent in common.

Visa Preference: F-4

Sibling’s immediate relatives.

Immediate family members (Spouse and minor children) of the brother or sister may also apply for a green card with the brother or sister of a U.S. citizen at the same time.

The annual visa allotment available for this preference is 65,000, plus any visas not used by the first three preferences.

There are 2 different categories for family-based immigrant visa categories, immediate relatives (IR) and family preference (F) categories. These two categories may also be categorized as unlimited and limited as one category has no visa cap per year, and one is limited. While the immediate relative category is strictly for U.S. Citizens, Family categories are for more distant relatives of U.S. Citizens and certain visas for Legal Permanent Residents.

You may view the most recent visa bulletin HERE.

These visa types are based on a close family relationship with a U.S. Citizen described as an Immediate Relative (IR). The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year. Immediate relative visa types include:

  • IR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
  • IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old

These visa types are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). There are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants, shown at the end of each category. The family preference categories are:

  • F-1: Unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any. (23,400)
  • F-2: Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs. At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder is allocated to unmarried sons and daughters. (114,200)
  • F-3: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children. (23,400)
  • F-4: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age. (65,000)
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