The US government allows family unification as articulated in the American Immigration law that relates to family-based Green Cards. One way to obtain lawful permanent residency (Green Card) is through a relative who is either a citizen of the United States or a lawful Permanent Resident.
How Do I Qualify?
The relative of the applicant must be able to prove that he/she is a citizen or a lawful Permanent Resident of US and could support the applicant financially (often determined by income that should be equivalent to or 125% above the mandated US poverty line). There are, generally, two categories for family based visa:
- Unlimited Family-based Immigration (priority group)
- Limited Family-based Immigration (groups with less priority)
Each one of the above categories has its own subcategories that look like the following:
Two(2) Categories for Unlimited Family-based Immigration
- Immediate Relatives of US Citizens (IR): A spouse, parents, widowed or unmarried child under the age of 21
- Returning Residents (SB): Immigrants who have previously lived in the U.S. as lawful Permanent Resident and should be returning to live in the U.S. after living abroad for more than one year
Four (4) Preference Categories for Limited Family-based Immigration
- First Preference: Unmarried children over the age of 21 of US citizens
- Second Preference: Spouses of lawful Permanent Residents, their unmarried children under the age of 21 and married children under the age of 21 of lawful permanent residents
- Third Preference: Married children of US Citizens
- Fourth Preference: Siblings of adult U.S. citizens
How to Apply?
The US citizen or Permanent Resident relative of the prospective immigrant must file USCIS Form I-130 along with the proof of their relationship. Following the approval of I-130, the Department of State will determine the availability of an immigrant visa number for the applicant. As soon as a number is available, the relative should apply in order for the incoming immigrant to be assigned an available visa number (each immigrant in the United States is identified by what is known as an Alien Number).