Reuniting with families is a top priority for legal U.S. citizens. When families are in another country and not a citizen, this can be difficult. Immigration laws and guidelines can be confusing and hard to process sometimes. A family-based green card is a great option to consider if you want bring your family into the U.S. legally.
Legal Immigration for citizens’ families
Family-based green cards are a way for legal immigrants to bring their families into the United States to become legal citizens. When you want to bring family members into the U.S. legally, they must be immediate relatives. This includes:
It does not include:
- Close friends
If you want a grandparent, aunt or uncle to come to the U.S. you will first need to obtain a green card for a direct relative of theirs who is also a direct relative of yours. Once their immediate relative is a legal citizen, they can then petition for them.
The government will perform a background check on you and your family members. They will be looking for any criminal records, substance abuse, gang or terrorist affiliations.
The process and paperwork can be overwhelming. You will need to completevarious forms and background checks. There are certain categories that your family members fall into depending on their age and marital status. It can take many years if your child is married and over the age of 21 to gain legal citizenship.
Once you finish the paperwork, you are essentially placing your family members in a line. If everything is approved, once they reach the front of the line, they will be granted a green card. You will need to complete a separate form for each one of your relatives. When your paperwork is completed and sent in, you will receive a confirmation letter. This letter will notify you if your forms are incomplete or if they are being processed.
A large concern for many families is time. How long will this whole process take? To be honest, it depends on the circumstances. Immediate relatives have the shortest wait. If you have a child under the age of 21, a legal spouse or parents, these are considered high priority and there is no limit to the number of green cards issued for this category. This does include stepparents, stepchildren and adopted families.
If you are looking to bring a child over the age of 21, a married child or brothers or sisters over the age of 21, this is typically a longer wait. There is only a certain amount of visas awarded each year to this group of people.
If you have any questions about the process, you should consider speaking with an experienced immigration lawyer. They can help clear any confusion or concerns you have about the process.
Immigration laws are not perfect. There are many exceptions, exclusions and inconsistencies with the law. The more knowledge you have about the process, the better off you will be. A lawyer can help fill out the paper work on your behalf or guide you through the process. If your form is denied or you are having difficulty with the immigration office, your lawyer can step in and help solve any issues on your behalf.