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Green Cards For Family & Relatives
GREEN CARDS FOR FAMILY & RELATIVES
This visa category permits the immediate relatives of United States citizens to immigrate without waiting in a quota or preference line. Mere marriage to a United States citizen or permanent resident does not automatically create resident status in the United States. The United States relative must file a petition on behalf of the foreign relative, and the foreign relative must undergo an interview by the United States government for admissibility to the United States as an immigrant.
However, less immediate ties than a spouse or parent of a United States citizen require that a person apply for his or her visa through a series of categories which may or may not be current at the time the person's application is approved. A United States citizen must be at least 21 years of age in order to immigrate a relative.
There are FOUR basic categories of family preference:
- Adult sons and daughters of United States citizens Spouses and adult sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents or Green Card holders
- Married children of United States citizens
- Brothers and sisters of United States citizens
A U.S. citizen can file the petition on behalf of his/her:
1. Husband, wife, or child under the age of 21
2. An unmarried child over the age of 21
3. Married child of any age
4. Brother or sister if the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years old
5. A parent if the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years
Under INA 201(b) the U.S. Citizen's spouse, parent or child (under 21) is considered an Immediate Relative, and as such NO preference quota is required. Furthermore, even under the tough new adjustment laws, a United States Citizen may petition for his or her Immediate Relative even if that relative has fallen out of status. The immediate relative must have entered the United States legally however.
A lawful permanent resident can file the petition on behalf of his/her:
1. Husband or wife
2. Unmarried child
A bulletin is issued by the United States Department of State (http://www.travel.state.gov/visa_bulletin.html) showing the status of the various visa categories in relation to the preferences for the worldwide countries which have not over-subscribed the system as well as a breakdown for those countries which are over-subscribed. There are varying waiting periods in these categories, depending on the backlog of prior applications on a worldwide basis and on a per country basis in the case of certain high demand countries. These waits are unpredictable, and can change from month to month, since the waiting line depends upon the number of people with earlier priority dates on their approved applications who actually complete the process when the time comes that the visa is available.