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What Are Family Immigration Green Cards And Visas?

Family-based immigration green cards and visas is a process where a family member can petition for another family member who is either in the United States, or who is abroad in their home country.

Who Can Petition For A Family Member To Receive A Green Card?

There are different categories for anyone who can petition for a green card for a family member. The first category is for an immediate relative of a United States citizen. A United States citizen who has an immediate relative would be able to petition for that relative. In addition, if the family member with a green card was a legal permanent resident, they can petition, or sponsor a relative. Then, there is a category where if a United States citizen does not have an immediate family member, they can petition for that person. That particular category falls under the preference category. There is a distinction between an immediate family member, and a member that falls into that preference category.

Who Is Eligible To Be Petitioned? What Is The Criteria?

They are eligible if the person is an immediate relative of a US citizen. Now, the United States Citizens and Immigrations Services classifies an immediate relative as a spouse, or an unmarried child under the age of twenty-one, and parents of US citizens, who are twenty-one or older.

What Is The Difference Between Immediate Family And Family Preference Categories?

The family preference category includes unmarried sons and daughters over the age of twenty-one, married children of any age, and brothers and sisters of US citizens twenty-one or older. The immediate category also includes spouses and unmarried children under the age of twenty-one. Therefore, children under the age of twenty-one, or minors, are considered immediate relatives. It is a faster process. If you are over twenty-one, that is a preference-based category, and that process takes a little but longer. Brothers and sisters of US citizens are not considered immediate relatives under the immigration law, and they would fall under the preference category. Anyone older than twelve would also fall under the preference category.

When And How Should Someone Apply For The Family Based Visa?

Two different processes should be noted to apply for a family based visa. The first process is if a family member either is petitioning a relative, immediate relative, or refer to the preference category, and that relative is in the United States. This is called the adjustment of status process, and that is issued in the United States if the relative lives in the United States. If the relative is outside of the United States, the person petitioning and sponsoring can still petition for them, but it is a completely different process.

The department of state is involved in the process, and that person would have to be interviewed in their home country. Therefore, the answer to your question is the relative can, as long as both parties of the relatives qualify as an immediate relative, or family preference category then can apply at any time.

If Someone Is Already In The United States Illegally, Can They Be Legally Petitioned For?

If you are in the United States illegally, you can have a family member petition for you, but you have to meet certain eligibility criteria in order to be sponsored. The most important, if you are already in the United States, is you have had to enter the United States with what is called inspection by an immigration officer. Inspection basically means that you have been issued a visa in your home country, you came to the United States with that visa, and you were inspected, which is usually  in an airport, or some people come by ship or other means, but you have had to have had a visa, and you have to have been through an inspection. If you came through the border, if you came illegally, unfortunately you are not eligible to be sponsored by any family member.

There is a host of reasons why someone would be considered inadmissible. For example, if you were considered a terrorist, if you have a communicable disease, and barred from entry into the United States, you would not be eligible. You have to meet certain requirements. The biggest one is you have to be admitted with inspection and you have to have a visa. There are other qualifications that you have to meet, and if you are not admissible then your family member cannot petition for you, even though you may be an immediate relative, and you meet all the other criteria. You must meet all the criteria’s for admittance into the United States.

How Long Does This Process Generally Take?

If you are already in the United States, the process may take anywhere from six months to a year, and if you are out of the United States it takes a little bit more than that. In my experience now, it takes about twelve to eighteen months if you are outside of the United States.

Read on to find out about Family Immigration Visas. Call the law offices of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC for a FREE Initial Consultation at (914) 574-8330 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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