US clarifies how family members can get green cards for residency

by Ray Clancy on June 20, 2014

US immigration officials are reminding people that qualified relatives of US citizens can live permanently in the country under certain circumstances.

To promote family unity, immigration law allows US citizens to petition for eligible immediate relatives including a spouse, an unmarried child under the age of 21 and a parent if the US citizen is over the age of 21, to live in the country.


US citizens can petition to obtain green cards for eligible immediate relatives

‘Immediate relatives have special immigration priority and do not have to wait in line for a visa number to become available for them to immigrate because there are an unlimited number of visas for their particular categories,’ said a United States Immigration department spokesman.

Certain people are also eligible to apply for a green card for permanent residence while inside the United States. An immediate relative relationship allows you to apply on Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to become a permanent resident.

If you are currently outside the United States and are an immediate relative of a US citizen, you can become a permanent resident through consular processing. Consular processing is when USCIS works with the Department of State to issue a visa on an approved Form I-130 petition when a visa is available.

‘You may then travel on the visa and will officially become a permanent resident when admitted at a US port of entry. The Department of State will notify you when you are eligible to apply for an immigrant visa.  If you do not apply for an immigrant visa within one year following notification from the Department of State, your petition may be terminated,’ the spokesman explained.

When an immediate relative child of a US citizen reaches 21 years of age, he or she generally will become a ‘first preference’ (F1) category son or daughter (over 21 years of age) of a US citizen, and will no longer have a visa immediately available.

‘This change may result in a significant delay in adjustment of status or visa processing because he or she will now need to wait for an immigrant visa to become available,’ the spokesman pointed out.

He added that in certain cases, the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) may allow you to retain the classification of child even if you have reached age 21.

If an immediate relative child under age 21 gets married, he or she can no longer be classified as an immediate relative and will become a third preference (F3) category married son or daughter of a US citizen and a visa would no longer be immediately available.

‘You must notify us of any change in your marital status after Form I-130 has been filed for you and prior to becoming a permanent resident or obtaining an immigrant visa,’ the spokesman added.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Philippe SIBOMANA June 21, 2014 at 3:36 pm

I am here by applying for getting a visa for immigrating to the Us of America. I am Rwandan, I am26 years old, I am bachelor’s degree holder and am single.

I am interested in immigrating toward America.

Best regards.

Philippe SOBOMANA.


Jenni Gatto January 18, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Practical suggestions . I loved the analysis . Does someone know where I would be able to access a fillable ATI Rate Confirmation form to fill out ?


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