Relatives of United States citizens may, in some cases, qualify for lawful permanent residency. One of the most common ways for non-citizens to obtain a U.S. green card is through a family member. However, that does not mean that every relation of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident will qualify.
Immigration laws set strict guidelines for which family relations are eligible to receive a green card, and in some cases, how may non-citizens can enter the U.S. per year based on that category. Although these immigration laws offer many ways to reconnect loved ones, the process can be daunting. A single mistake can lead to a denial, delay, or increased costs.
A skilled Oak Brook family immigration lawyer can provide legal representation and assistance to help you accomplish your immigration goals, whether it is becoming a U.S. citizen, fighting for permanent residency status, or fighting to stay in the country. En Español.
Important Variables in Oak Brook Family Immigration Cases
Family unity has customarily been one of the primary goals of immigration policy in the United States. A green card holder can file a visa petition to bring family members to the United States, an action often known as sponsoring. Immediate relatives who are eligible can receive a green card without being controlled by the annual limits, but the processing time can vary, as a family immigration attorney in Oak Brook can explain.
Can People Obtain a Green Card Through a Preference Relative Status?
Preference relative status is another way to obtain a green card, albeit a lengthy one. Depending on demand, there are annual limits on the number of visas available, therefore someone seeking this type of visa may find themselves on the waiting list for years. Preference relatives qualify if they meet any of the following categories:
- Unmarried children (age 21 or older) of a U.S. citizen
- Spouses and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of a U.S. citizen
- Unmarried sons and daughters of a U.S. citizen (over 21 years of age)
- Married children (any age) of a U.S. citizen
- Siblings of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old
Once a green card holder submits a visa petition for a foreign relative, that person’s children and spouse (unmarried and under the age of 21) may be included as a “derivative” beneficiary. The petitioner names them on the initial visa petition, Form I-130, to start the process for them. Eventually, the members will submit their own applications for a green card.
Common Requirements for Foreign-Born Children
U.S. immigration law handles matters involving children of U.S. citizens differently than children of permanent residents. Since the U.S. nationality law has changed frequently throughout the years, many foreign-born children with U.S. citizen parents may be eligible to apply for a U.S. passport. Families who are looking to bring their foreign-born children to the United States should determine whether their child has “transmitted” U.S. citizenship.
What Happens if a Child is not a Transmitted Citizen?
If the child is not a “transmitted” U.S. citizen, the family will need to determine whether they can sponsor their child for an immigrant visa. However, visa availability and the length of wait times can differ greatly depending on whether the child’s petitioner or sponsor is a permanent resident.
An Oak Brook Family Immigration Attorney Can be an Ally
Immigration can be complex and is subject to frequent changes. Therefore, it is important to keep up with the updated laws to make sure you are making the decisions that are right for your family.
A knowledgeable Oak Brook family immigration lawyer can offer skilled guidance and aggressive representation to help you do that. They understand how important your family is to you and can help you seek the solution you need.
Call us today to schedule a case consultation.