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Family-Based Immigrant Visas (Green Cards)

One way of applying for a green card to live in the United States indefinitely is through family-based immigration. 

A U.S. citizen may apply for:

  • A spouse or unmarried children under 21-years of age (Immediate Relatives);
  • Unmarried sons and daughters over 21-years of age (1st Preference);
  • Married sons and daughters (3rd Preference); and
  • Brothers and sisters (4th Preference).

A green card holder (“Lawful Permanent Resident” or “LPR”) may apply for:

  • A spouse or unmarried children under 21 (2A Preference); and
  • Unmarried sons and daughters over 21-years of age (2B Preference).

Once someone qualifies for a family-based immigrant visa, he or she must:

  • Have an approved family-based I-130 petition from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”);
  • Have a current priority date based on the Visa Bulletin issued by the U.S. Department of State; and
    • The priority date of the petition depends on the preference category.  It can be thought of as a waiting period based on the family relationship.  For instance, the spouse of a U.S. citizen (an “immediate relative”) has a visa number which is immediately available.  By contrast, a brother or sister of a U.S. citizen (a 4th preference category) can generally expect to wait over ten years for a current priority date.
  • Apply for an immigrant visa with the U.S. Department of State if outside the United States, or for adjustment of status if in the United States.

IMPORTANT:
Those who entered without inspection, who have removal/deportation orders, and/or who have or had criminal problems may not be eligible for an immigrant visa or for adjustment of status in the United States.  As a result, it is extremely important to contact us or schedule an initial consultation to discuss your particular case.

Please also visit the rest of our website to see other ways to obtain a green card to live in the United States. 

 

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