FAQ on Family Based Immigration

There are various ways to obtain a permanent resident card or green card. An applicant may obtain a green card through employment, through a family member, asylum and refugee status, through green card lottery program or through adoption by a permanent resident or a US citizen . Most people obtain permanent residency through a family member who is a US citizen or permanent resident of the United States. The United States allows the US citizens and permanent residents to help their family members to live and work permanently in the United States.

Immigration FAQ:

1. What is family based immigration?

Family-based immigration helps certain people to become U.S. permanent residents through family members who are either US citizens or US permanent residents. The US citizen or permanent resident who petitions for a family member is called a Sponsor and the person for whom the petition is filed is called the Beneficiary.

2. Who is eligible to sponsor a family member for a green card?

A petitioner or the sponsor must be at least 18 years old, and a US citizen or legal permanent resident to sponsor a family member for a green card. The sponsor generally must live in the United States or in a territory or possession of the US.

3. Whom can I sponsor if I am a U.S. citizen?

If you are a US citizen, you may petition for the following individuals.

  • Spouse,
  • Married or unmarried children,
  • Brother or sister (only if you are at least 21 years old),
  • Parents (only if you are at least 21 years old)

4. Whom can I sponsor if I am a legal permanent resident?

If you are a lawful permanent resident, you may then petition for your spouse (husband or wife) and unmarried children.

5. How to process a petition for my spouse who is in the United States in a different status?

If you are a US citizen, then you must file Form I 130 to petition for your spouse. Your spouse may also apply to adjust the status to permanent resident at the same time as your petition. If you are a legal permanent resident, you then need to file the same Form I 130. The process differs a little where your spouse will have to wait for an immigrant visa to become available in the second preference category. Once the visa number becomes current, your spouse may apply for adjustment of status. During the application process, your spouse must maintain the non – immigrant status.

6. Can I file for my parents if I am permanent resident?

No, you are not allowed by the law to file for your parents. If you wish to petition for them, then you must be a US citizen.

7. I have petitioned for my husband. Can he join me in the United States when the petition is in process?

Yes, your husband may join you in the United States. You must petition him for a non-immigrant K-3 Visa while Form I 130 is pending. With this K3 visa, he may enter the United States. He is eligible to work while his permanent residency visa petition is pending.

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