One of the most common ways you can get a U.S. green card is through a family member or close relative who lives in the Unites States. These family-based green cards allow your U.S.-based relative to serve as your sponsor, granting you entrance to the country and giving you permanent resident status. However, exactly how does a family-based green card work? And how do you go about applying for one? Check out our guide below.
How a Family-Based Green Card Works
The way a family-based green card works depends largely on the nature of your relationship with your sponsoring relative. Family-based green cards put applicants into one of several categories. These include:
· Immediate relatives – They are a spouse, unmarried child under 21, or a parent of a U.S. citizen.
· Preference relatives – They are an unmarried child over 21 or the sibling of a U.S. citizen.
· Family members with green cards – They are the immediate relatives of a U.S. green card holder.
· Special categories – They are the fiancé of a U.S. citizen, a child of a foreign diplomat, a widower of a U.S. citizen, or battered spouse or child.
If you fall into the category of immediate relative, there is no wait for receiving your green card, as the U.S. issues an unlimited number of these types of cards annually. If you fall into one of the other categories, however, you will be issued a number and will need to wait for a green card to become available. The U.S. only issues a limited number of these other category green cards every year; depending on how many have been filed, how many are on the list ahead of you, and other extenuating factors, you could be forced to wait months or even years before you are granted a green card.
More on Family-based Green Cards
Want to learn more about obtaining a family-based green card or need help in petitioning for yours? Contact an immigration attorney at the Davis Law Firm today. We can help.