Services

IMMIGRANT VISA FOR GREEN CARD: FAMILY BASED



Immediate Relative Category

U.S. citizens over the age of 21 are allowed to petition for parents and unmarried children under 21 years.  U. S citizens should be at least 18 years of age in order sponsor spouses since the minimum age to file the affidavit of support is 18. A joint sponsor or co-sponsor may not file an affidavit of support if the U. S citizen sponsor is below 18 years. There is no quota or limit and, therefore, no waiting period for “Immediate Relatives” of U.S. Citizens to receive immigrant visa and to receive permanent resident status. Separate petitions should be filed for spouses and all children under 21 in order to receive visa since there is no derivative status for children under 21 of US children unlike children under 21 of LPRs. Under the new CSPA rules the age of child on the date of filing of the petition will be the age at the time of issuance of the visa. In other cases the age and status of the beneficiary at the time of naturalization of the petitioner will be counted.

Preference Category

Relatives in the following “preference” categories are subject to limits on the number of visas that can be issued each year. All the preference category beneficiaries have long waiting period ranging from one and half years to up to 13 years for people including those from India and Pakistan. Please refer to the Visa Numbers availability chart published by State Department for the latest information about the visa availability.

First Preference

Unmarried sons or daughters (over 21) of U.S. citizens. At present there is a waiting period of almost 7 years in order to become eligible to apply for visa or adjustment of status if physically present in US. The beneficiaries should remain unmarried in order to obtain visa under this category. Even though need to be unmarried, derivative status available to children under 21 under this category.

Second Preference

(2A) Spouses and unmarried children (under 21) of LPRs; (2B) Unmarried sons and daughters (over 21) of LPRs. At present there is a waiting period of about 2 years under 2A category, and more than 8 years under 2B category in order apply for the visa or adjustment of status if physically present in US. Under 2A category, there is no need to file separate petitions for the spouses and children provided the petitioner is an LPR and maintains that status until they receive the immigrant visa or adjust status, provided the children are still under 21 when they enter US on an immigrant visa, or adjust status to that of permanent resident if physically present in US. If the petitioner LPR intends to apply for Naturalization, in order to avail immigrant visas under IR category, separate immigrant petitions should be filed at the very first time for spouses and children under 21, since there is no derivative status under IR category.

Third Preference

Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. At present  there is a waiting period of more than 10 years under this category in order to apply for the visa or adjustment of status in US. The accompanying children should be under 21 when they apply for the visa, and when they enter US. The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), which came in to effect on August 06, 2002 provides some relief to children aged out by reaching 21. The CSPA calculations may be made only if the priority date is current.

Fourth Preference

Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens. At present there is a waiting period of more than 11 years under this category in order apply for the visa or adjustment of status in US. The accompanying children should be under 21 when they apply for the visa, and also when they enter US.  The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), which came in to effect on August 06, 2002 provides some relief to children aged out by reaching 21. The CSPA calculations may be made only if the priority date is current.