Green Card holders (Permanent Residents) have been authorized to live and work permanently in the US. Family based immigration is an immigrant visa classification where it allows an individual to become a permanent resident through a family member who is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. Most people get green card through parents / spouse / siblings. The United States allows U.S. citizens and permanent residents to petition for their relatives (specific people only) to come and live permanently in the United States.
How can my family get a Green card?
Obtaining a Green Card for family is a two step process. The first step is Family Immigration Petition where they must establish a qualifying relationship between the Petitioner (US Citizen/ Permanent Resident) and the Green Card applicant. There are two categories where the applicants may get their green card. One is, if the family member is inside US then the applicant may qualify to adjust status to Permanent Resident without returning to their home country. Or if the family member is outside US , then he/she may be eligible for Consular processing through a Consulate or through an US Embassy that has jurisdiction over their foreign place of residence.
The applicants may be eligible to obtain a Green Card through family member who is a US citizen or a Permanent Resident.
If the family member is a U.S. Citizen then the applicant may be able to get a green card as an immediate relative (spouse and children) or as a family member (parents / siblings) . This is possible when the U.S. citizen family member files a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for the applicant.
If the applicant is the spouse (husband or wife), or the child (unmarried and under 21 years old), or the parent (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years or older) of a U.S. Citizen then they fall under the category Immediate Relatives. An applicant is called the Family Member of a U.S. citizen if he/she is an unmarried son or daughter (21 years or older) , a married son or daughter (any age) or a sibling (brother or sister) of a U.S. citizen.
If the Family Member is a Permanent Resident then the applicant may be able to get a green card as an immediate relative (spouse and children) or as a family member (parents / siblings) . This is possible when the Permanent Resident /Green Card family member files a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for the applicant.
If the applicant is the spouse of a Green Card holder, or the child (unmarried and under 21 years old / above 21 years) of a Green Card parents, then the applicant is called Immediate Relative.
There is also another way of Family Immigration which is through Special Categories. The applicant may get the Green Card if he/she is a battered child or spouse of a U.S. citizen, entered the United States with a K1 visa/ K3 visa, obtained V non-immigrant status, a widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen , or born to a foreign diplomat in the United States. If the applicant applies based on the Special Category, he/she must provide relevant proof of the required evidence.
There are some limitations for a Permanent resident to travel outside U.S. and return. A reentry permit will help a Permanent resident to enter into U.S. without any problem. A reentry permit is used to determine that you did not intend to abandon
your status, and it allows you for admission into the United States after traveling abroad for 2 years without having to obtain
a returning resident visa. Reentry permits are normally valid for 2 years from the date of issuance.
You need to file the Form I-131 with the Reentry permit fees to obtain a reentry permit. It is recommended that you file the I-131 form well in advance of your planned trip. Ensure that you file the I-131 form at least 60 days before your intended travel. You need to be physically present in the United States to file this form. You cannot file the I-131 form while you are outside U.S.
You do not need to file the I-131 form and get a reentry permit if you will be outside the United States for less than 1 year. If you have been outside the United States for less than 1 year, you may use your Permanent Resident Card as your travel document.
Reentry permit fees:
The Reentry permit fees is $385. It includes an application fee of $305 and a biometric fee of $80. You can pay the Reentry permit fee with a personal check, money order, or cashier’s check. Do not send cash. The check or money order must be drawn on a bank or other financial institution in the United States and must be payable in U.S. currency.
If you are filing the I-131 form at one of the USCIS Lockbox facilities and would like to receive an e-mail and/or text message that your application has been accepted, then complete a Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance and clip it to the first page of your application.
The I-131 form will not be approved in the following cases:
- If you have already been issued a reentry permit and it is still valid.
- If the federal register contains a notice that prohibits the issuance of reentry permit for travel to the area where you intend to go.
Checklist of your Reentry permit application package:
- The I-131 form
- The G-1145 form (optional)
- Supporting documents
- Reentry permit fees
Assemble your application package in an orderly manner. Using a paper-clip, attach the Reentry permit fees to the first page of your I-131 form. If you do not send the Reentry permit fees along with your application, your application will be returned. Place your supporting documents under your application. Mail your application by certified mail, certified mail or courier service and request a return receipt.
Within 30 days of submitting your application to USCIS, you can expect to receive a Form I-797 Receipt Notice. This Notice is your confirmation that the USCIS has received your application and accepted it for processing. After you receive the Receipt Notice, you will receive an Appointment Notice requesting your appearance at your local Application Support Center to have your fingerprints taken.