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Did you know having a U.S. citizen relative (meeting certain requirements) can get you a green card?

Some family relationships make foreign nationals eligible for a family-based green card petition.

I. Eligible Relationships for Family Petitions

Under U.S. immigration law, citizens can petition for immediate relatives to receive green cards.

Immediate relatives in this context are:

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried children under 21 of U.S. citizens
  • Parents of U.S. citizens (provided petitioner is 21 years old or above)
  • S. citizens aged 21 and over can petition for their siblings and married children to get green cards (these fall under preference categories with longer wait times)

II. The Petition Process

First, your U.S. citizen relative has to file Form I-130 – Petition for Alien Relative – with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

With this form they also have to give proof they’re U.S. citizens and related to you. For example, for parents or children, birth certificates are the main documentation. In the case of spouses, the U.S. citizen spouse provides a valid marriage certificate and evidence that the marriage is honest and not for green card benefits.

If USCIS approves the petition, you can apply for a green card either through adjustment of status if in the U.S. already, or through consular processing abroad. You will be submitting forms, fees, attending a medical exam and a green card interview.

III. Advantages of Family Petitions

Aside from the main benefit that you can live and work in the U.S. legally, there’s another advantage for you.

Your application may receive priority processing over other immigrant visa categories. There are also no annual caps/limits on how many immediate relative green cards are issued by the government every year.

This will cut down your waiting time compared to other preference categories with strict visa number limits.

Getting a green card through your qualifying U.S. relative may still take up many months. Nevertheless, it’s one of the simplest ways to get permanent lawful residence in the country.

IV. Consulting Professionals

U.S. Immigration laws are highly complicated.

There are multiple, different document requirements under each qualifying U.S. relative category.

You need the expertise of immigration attorneys to help you throughout the process with considerations like:

  • eligibility criteria
  • accurately filling out detailed application forms
  • compliance with legal requirements of countries in question

Contact Immigration Legal Center to discuss various visa options applicable to you and improve your chances of success in visa approval.