family green cardThe United States favors family reunification for immigrants. And that’s why it has immigration laws that allow US citizens and permanent residents (who has a green card) to sponsor some family members to live and work in the U.S. The immigration laws of the United States, which govern kinship-based family reunification, do not treat all family ties equally. Direct family ties have preferences over others, and this justification will determine which relative qualifies to immigrate to the US and under which preferential category they could be placed. It is best to get help from an Immigration Attorney Scottsdale AZ.

The Citizen

If you were to ask a Scottsdale Green Card Attorney about the green card application process, the first thing you would be told is:

A person who is a citizen of the United States or in certain circumstances a permanent resident can apply for their relatives to obtain permanent residence. Family members are separated into 5 different categories: (1) Immediate relative, (2) unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens over the age of 21, (3) spouses and minor children (under 21 years old) of permanent residents, (4) married sons and daughters of U.S. Citizen, and (5) sisters and brothers of a U.S. Citizen who is 21 years of age or older.

Immediate Family Members

There is no annual quota to the number of relatives who are issued a green card under the “immediate family” category. This includes spouses of US citizens (in some cases widows and widowers), parents of U.S. citizens, children (unmarried under 21 years of age), stepchildren, and stepparents as long as the marriage occurred before the child was 18 years old, and adopted children while the adoption occurred before the age of 16 provided certain other conditions are met.

Order of Preference

Green cards are issued in order of preference:

1. Unmarried sons and daughters (over 21) of a U.S. citizen
2. Spouses and unmarried minor children of a permanent resident
3. Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
4. Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens

Other Members of the Family

. There is an annual quota on the number of green cards allowed under these 4 preference categories. It is on a first-come, first-served basis, and the earlier a person submits an application, the faster the immigrant can apply for a green card. Submitting an application gives you a place on the waiting list (known as priority date), and final processing occurs when a green card quota becomes available in that category (known as priority date becoming current) as long as the recipient maintains their eligibilityThe waiting time varies between “no wait”to 20+ years, depending on the preference category. The wait time is published on the “Visa Bulletin” on a monthly basis by the Department of State

How to Apply

If you are going to apply for a green card (family based), it requires two steps. First, the family member/sponsor must submit a petition on your behalf by mail with USCIS. This helps to determine the qualifying and eligible relationship that you have with the U.S. citizen or the legal permanent resident who is going to file for you. The second step of the process is actually completing the application for the green card. If the sponsor is a U.S. citizen and the receiver is a parent, minor child, or spouse living in the United States, the two steps can be combined. However, applicants in preference categories will have to wait for a green card quota following the approval of the family petition (step 1). When a quota becomes available, the applicant may commence step 2 either by filing for “adjustment” application with USCIS or going through consular processing, depending on whether they are in the U.S.

How Can A Lawyer Help?

The immigration law is always changing, but lawyers are always abreast of the changing laws. The immigration process is complex, but a lawyer can help you with the application, showing you the requirements, the law, and the process. Taking a chance by doing it on your own means that you could be denied or at least delayed, especially, if you are not familiar with the latest requirements and process. In other words, mistakes could cost you time and money, and you may have to start all over again. It is best to get help from a Scottsdale Immigration Attorney like the Law Office of Jared Leung.

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