Adjustment of status is the last step in the green card or (LPR) process (that of becoming a legal permanent resident). You, the foreign national have to file an I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status, most likely based on a pre-existing and approved or approvable Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) or Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative). I-485 applications and I-130 or I-140 petitions can be filed concurrently depending on the immediate availability of an immigrant visa number. You are required to file the adjustment of status application along with an I-693 Medical Examination of Alien issued by a licensed Civil Surgeon and also a G-325A, Biographic Information form. These serve as documents to a complete medical and immunological history as well as a record of your places of employment and residence during the past five years.
The USCIS will schedule a date for you to have your fingerprints, picture and signature recorded for their FBI background check and entry in the USCIS records. Normally, an interview with a USCIS official is required in a majority of cases.
You are allowed to work and travel with a pending adjustment of status application. The application will be considered abandoned if you do not attend a biometrics appointment or interview. Applications may also be rejected if
- The underlying immigrant petition is denied/withdrawn
- You are found to have entered or resided in the US illegally (this may be waived if you originally entered with a valid visa and are an immediate relative of the US citizen-petitioner)
- You are judged as undesirable on the grounds of previous criminal convictions, affiliation with unsuitable political parties/organizations (former members of the Communist Party) and poor character or have weakening health problems, as well as other inadmissible grounds.
Once your Form I-485 is approved, a permanent residency card (green card) valid for ten years will be issued to you. After five years, you will be eligible to apply for naturalization. If you are an LPR who got your green card through marriage, you will be eligible to apply for naturalization after only three years if you are still living with the same spouse who originally filed the petition for you.
If you are a green card holder, you have certain restrictions on your rights. If you marry a foreign born spouse, you may have to remain separated for years from your spouse or family while the paper work needed to get immigration authorization wades through the system. As mentioned earlier, permanent resident cards come with a validity of ten years and you have to renew it on its expiration. You have to file Form I-90, Application to replace green card to get your green card replaced.
Persons who have held asylee or refugee status for one year or more will also qualify to file the application to adjust status to a permanent resident.
However, note that if you are outside the US, you are not eligible to file an application to adjust status to Permanent Resident. Eligible applicants outside the US may get a green card by applying for an Immigrant Visa at a US consulate abroad.
One of the many advantages of being a US citizen is that you can sponsor your loved ones for a green card to come and live with you in the US. As a US citizen, you may petition your spouse, parents and children for the green card status. Whereas, if you a legal permanent resident (green card holder), you will be able to sponsor only your spouse and unmarried children.
Green Card For Child Application Process
The first step is the “Immigrant Petition” that will establish a qualifying relationship between you, the sponsor and your child abroad followed by the green card application. If your child is in the US, you can file the immigrant petition and green card for child application at the same time. But, if you are a lawful permanent resident, your child must wait for the immigrant petition to be approved before they can file the the green card application.
While sponsoring a green card for child, the first step is to submit Form I-130, the immigrant petition. If your child lives outside the US, the application for an immigrant visa has to be filed at a US consulate which has jurisdiction over your child’s place of residence.
If your child/children live in the US, then you file form I-485 through which you can adjust status. If your child lives in the US and is both unmarried and under the age of 21, then you can submit Form I-130 and Form I-485 at the same time. This is generally the fastest way to apply for a green card. As a legal permanent resident, if your child is married or over 21 or lives outside the US, then you must wait for the Form I-130 to be approved before moving to the next step in the process.
If you are a US citizen, you can also sponsor your married child for a green card. Married sons and daughters of US citizens fall in the third-preference category which means that they must wait for a visa number to become available before they can apply for a visa. In simple terms, married sons and daughters must wait longer than unmarried sons and daughters to apply for a green card. However, note that legal permanent residents may not sponsor their married sons and daughters for a green card.
As a US citizen parent, you can sponsor your unmarried children below the age of 21 as “immediate relatives”. They can directly apply for a green card without having to wait for a priority date to become current. Though, as a US citizen, you can sponsor your children who are married or over the age of 21, these children will not qualify as immediate relatives. These applicants will need to wait for their priority date to be current before they are eligible to apply for a green card.
A monthly visa bulletin published by the Department of State tells applicants when their priority date is current. Before applying for a green card, applicants must wait for their priority date to become current.
It is important to remember that if you are bringing a relative to live permanently in the US, you must accept legal responsibility for financially supporting this family member. You accept this responsibility and become your relative’s sponsor by completing and signing a document called an affidavit of support. This legally enforceable responsibility lasts until your relative becomes a US citizen or can be credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years.)
The lawful status of persons immigrating to the US varies according to the category through which they entered the US. You can use the non-immigrant visa if your stay in the US is temporary and you can come through an immigrant visa if your intention is for a permanent stay.
All immigrants have two options – become permanent residents (Green Card holders) or become citizens. Though both these statuses give you the right to live and work legally in the United States, certain advantages are conferred only to the US citizens. But if you want to apply for citizenship, you have to be a green card holder. In addition to this, there are other requirements you need to satisfy, should you want to apply for citizenship.
As far as green card is concerned, there are many ways to get one. One is through marriage. Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) has to be filed by a US citizen or US lawful permanent resident (LPR) to establish the relation to his/her relatives who want to come to the US. If you are a US citizen and your spouse is already in the US, your spouse can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status with the USCIS at the same time as you file the petition for Alien Relative.
Another way to get a green card is through the Diversity Visa lottery program that is conducted annually. You can also get one through employment. Immigrants under the Refugee or Asylee status can also apply for a green card.
If you become a US citizen, you have the right to hold federal jobs and the right to vote. You are free to travel wherever and for however long you want to. You will be protected even when you are traveling overseas. The State Department will make sure you travel home safely and will assist you through the US consulates abroad. Your spouse, children and other children you adopt can also become US citizens through your status. Though you will be required to file certain applications to document their status, the process will be less difficult.
The Citizenship Application Process:
Once you satisfy all the eligibility requirements that is needed to apply for citizenship, you can file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization with the USCIS. You will have to mail the completed US citizenship application along with your photographs, fees and supporting documents to the USCIS address mentioned in the instructions that come along with the citizenship form.
Once the USCIS receives your form, they will send you an appointment letter for fingerprinting. After your fingerprints are taken, you will have to wait for a letter of appointment from the USCIS for your interview. They will send a letter (Notice of Action) that will have the date, time and location of the interview.
Your knowledge of basic English Language and history of the US government (which is another requirement in the citizenship process) will be tested. If you prove your ability in the tests, you will be called to take the Oath and indeed, receive your Certificate of Naturalization. If you do not attend the Oath Ceremony, you should return the Form N-445, ‘Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony’ to the designated local Application Service Center (ASC). You should also attach a letter that would explain why you were not able to make it to the original ceremony. Then the USCIS will reschedule the date for your Oath Ceremony and will send new Form N-445 (Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony) that would have details of the ceremony.
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.
Family immigration is the process where you are sponsored by your family member for legal stay in the US. Green card gives you legal resident status in the US. With a green card, you can live and work in the US permanently. There are different ways through which you can get a green card.You can get one through employment or through the Diversity Visa lottery program. Family immigration is also possible where you can be sponsored by your US citizen or permanent resident family member for a green card.
In the family immigration process, as a legal permanent resident, you can sponsor your spouse and unmarried children. But to sponsor your parents or siblings, you need to be a US citizen. You can get a green card by being the immediate relative or as a family member in a preference category. But who is an immediate relative in the family immigration context? You are a immediate relative if you are the child (unmarried and under 21 years old) of a U.S. Citizen or the spouse (husband or wife) of a U.S. Citizen or the parent of a U.S. citizen (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years or older).
Whereas you will fall into the preference category in the family immigration context if you are the unmarried son or daughter (21 years or older) of a U.S. Citizen or a married son or daughter (any age) of a U.S. Citizen or a sibling (brother or sister) of a U.S. Citizen. So being an immediate relative or in the preference category will be an advantage in the family immigration process.
While sponsoring your family member, the US citizen or lawful permanent resident needs to file an Affidavit of Support. The US citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder) needs to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with the concerned authority that is the USCIS. Once the petition is approved, the USCIS sends a notification to the US citizen or permanent resident who filed this petition and to the National Visa Center. There is a limit to the number of family-based immigrants in certain categories every year. So the petition will remain in the National Visa Center until an immigrant visa number is available. But here, the immediate relatives of the US citizen, namely parents, spouse and children have an advantage as they need not wait for this visa number as a number is made available as soon the visa petition is approved. The foreign relative will then be informed by the National Visa Center about the petition received and will also notify as soon as the visa number is available. So when the petition is approved, the foreign relative can apply for an immigrant visa at the US embassy or Consulate in their country which is called Consular processing. Whereas, if the foreign relative is already in the US, he/she can adjust non immigrant status to a permanent resident status as soon as the petition is approved by the USCIS. Here the foreign relative can complete the processing without even having to return to his home country.
You can also get a green card through special categories of the family immigration namely, being a battered child OR you obtained V non immigrant status OR born to a foreign diplomat in the United States to name a few.
Most of the people who have settled and are US citizens love to bring their family members who live in other countries to the US .It is not as easy as it sounds and is a very complex process. Green card is the residence or the work permit for an individual who lives in the US legally. Family based green card is green card for a persons who are relatives of the US citizens or green card holders . In other words, the US citizen or permanent resident can sponsor his/her relative who lives outside the US to get a green card.
Family immigration, as the name suggests, is immigration of the family of the US citizen or lawful permanent residents to the US. Family immigration allows immigration based on the person’s relationship to a US citizen or Legal Permanent Resident and this is an important aspect when sponsoring a family member. The reason being, the US citizens can sponsor parents, spouse, siblings and children whereas a green card holder can only sponsor his/her spouse and children who are unmarried and under the age of 21 years. So if you wish to bring your whole family and enjoy the time together with your family folks, then being a US citizen will make it possible.
Family immigration visa categories are of two types:
Immediate relatives: This includes the immediate close relatives spouse, unmarried children under the age of 21 of the US citizen and parents, provided the US citizen sponsoring is at least 21 years of age.
Family preference relatives: This includes four preference categories – the spouse, minor children, unmarried children of lawful permanent residents, married children of US citizens and their spouse and siblings of the US citizen.
Requirements for family based immigration:
In family based immigration, one can sponsor a relative to immigrate to the US, but there are certain requirements one has to meet to sponsor them like:
- Individual who is sponsoring them should be a US citizens or a lawful permanent resident
- Willingness to file I 130, Petition for Alien relative for the relative whom you would like to sponsor
- Evidence on the funds to support the family that is having income level at 125% of the federal poverty level
Benefits of family based green card:
- Have the right to work anywhere in US
- Can sponsor your relatives
- Do not require Employment authorization to work
- Can become US citizen once the residence requirements are met.
Family based green card can be applied through a two step process:
- The US citizen or legal permanent resident should submit form I-130 to petition for the Alien relative with a proof of relationship
- Once the green card petition is approved by the USCIS, if you are already present in the US, you can adjust to permanent resident status from your non-immigrant status .
Therefore considering all the advantages of possessing a green card, and obtaining green card through a family member, you not only become a legal permanent resident, but later can apply for citizenship and thereby speed up the process of getting green cards for the rest of the family.
You can make use of the family-based green card process to apply a green card for your brother or sister. If you are a U.S. citizen, you should have gained your citizenship through naturalization or citizenship process, and you should be above 21 years of old to petition a green card for your sister or brother. Through the family-based green card process once your sister or brother enters the United States they are eligible to work permanently and later apply for citizenship. And you cannot apply for a green card for your sister or brother through family-based green card process if you are a green card holder.
The family-based green card process is a multi step process. First your need to file an Immigration petition using Form I-130 with USCIS. After USCIS approves the Form I-130, an immigrant visa number should be available. Once the immigrant visa is available they will be notified to go and schedule an interview in their local U.S. consulate. If your brother or sister is already in the U.S. on a different visa you can file I-130 later once the immigrant visa number becomes available they can apply for adjustment of status in the United States.
You needn’t file separate Form I-130 for your sister or brother. You can use a single Form I-130 and file for all your eligible sisters and brothers. Along with form I-130 you will need to file Form I-864 Affidavit of Support to establish that you have enough income to support your siblings.
You will have to submit the supporting document along with Form I-130 to establish your relationship, and each supporting document varies based on your situation.
If you and your sibling have same mother you need to file Form I-130, with your birth certificate and your siblings birth certificate with your mother’s name on it along with your proof for citizenship and affidavit of support.
If you and your sibling have same father but different mother, then you will have to file Form I-130 with your birth certificate with your father’s name and your siblings birth certificate with your father’s name, a copy of divorce decree or any documents to prove your fathers previous marriage were ended.
If you are applying for a step sibling who is sharing a common father , then you will need to submit your birth certificate with the name of your father. The marriage certificates between your father to both your natural mother and your step siblings natural mother, and proof of termination of marriage to your natural mother or your siblings natural mother.
If you are applying for a step sibling and you share a common mother, then along with Form I-130 you will have to submit a copy of your birth certificate with that of name of your mother, a copy of your siblings birth certificate with that of name of your mother.
If you or your step sibling illegitimate and related to a common father, then you will have to submit Form I-130 with a proof that you had a bona fide parent child relationship and along with other documents.