Gaining immigrant status as a lawful permanent resident, also known as having a Green Card, is an important step that opens the doors to opportunities for employment and other benefits in the United States. However, the process of obtaining a family-based Green Card can be difficult, frustrating, lengthy and stressful. This makes working with a Oak Brook family-based green card lawyer an important part of the process.
Competition in many visa categories is intense, so it is important to ensure that all procedures are followed correctly, deadlines are met, and that an applicant’s qualifications are fully documented. Because the process can be confusing, and it is important to get it right the first time, you may want to consult an experienced green card attorney.
Understanding the Importance of Green Cards
Lawful permanent residents have the right to work and live in the U.S. permanently and to sponsor immediate family members for immigration. The U.S. grants visas based on different categories such as family connection, employment, or status as a refugee or victim. Each year, the number of visas granted in particular categories is limited in most cases, so those with a lower preference may wait many years for their visa application to achieve full consideration.
This is especially true for those coming from a country with a high rate of immigration to the U.S., because the quotas also establish limits on the number of visas granted on a per country basis in order to foster diversity. An Oak Brook family-based green card lawyer can help you understand what category you fall into.
How Does the Preference System for Family-Based Green Cards Operate?
Although the total number of immigrant visas issued each year is limited, category limits do not apply to visas issued to immediate family members of U.S. citizens, which includes parents, unmarried minor children, children about to be adopted, and spouses. These family members would be considered a priority.
In order of preference, a limited number of family-based green cards may also be issued to:
- Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens
- Spouses and minor children of LPRs
- Unmarried adult children of LPRs
- Married adult children of U.S. citizens (and their spouses and minor children)
- Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (and their spouses and minor children)
Generally, the citizen who has a family connection to the green card applicant will serve as the sponsor of that applicant and must be at least 21 years old. Those applying based on a lower preference connection such as the sibling of a citizen may have a substantially longer wait period than those with higher preference connections. An Oak Brook attorney could help immigrants navigate wait periods when applying for a family-based green card.
What is Family-Based Green Card Application Process in Oak Brook?
In most cases in Oak Brook, the process of applying for a family-based Green Card starts with the sponsor family member filing a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) section of the Department of Homeland Security.
After USCIS approves the petition, information is forwarded to the National Visa Center which is operated by the U.S. Department of State. The Center reviews and confirms information and then begins pre-processing by requesting documentation including the Affidavit of Sponsorship and payment of fees.
Medical examinations, verification of identity through fingerprinting, and fulfilling requests for additional documentation are also required. When the waiting period is over and the requirements are all met, the applicant will be able to schedule an interview. After the interview, a decision is made and the applicant is notified.
Let an Oak Brook Family-Based Green Card Attorney Assist You
The process of obtaining a family-based immigration visa giving a foreign national status as a permanent legal resident of the U.S. is complex and competitive. To help ensure that every step in the process is completed in a manner calculated to give the applicant the best opportunity for a speedy and successful outcome, many families work with a knowledgeable Oak Brook family-based green card lawyer. To learn how a skilled attorney can put their experience to work for you, contact us today. A lawyer can review your circumstances to help you make the decisions to help you succeed.