TEL: (626) 642-8066
FAX: (626) 279-5613





Home
Services
Attorneys
Consultation
Office Directions
Resources/Links
Visa Bulletin
USCIS Processing
Client Testimonials

**E2 Investor Visa** Resource Center
** Free **
Immigration News

Enter Your E-mail
Subscribe
UnSubscribe

We respect your privacy and will never sell our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it!


Law Office of Bobby C. Chung




I AM A US CITIZEN. HOW DO I HELP MY RELATIVE BECOME A PERMANENT RESIDENT (i.e., GREEN CARD HOLDER)?


To consult an immigration attorney, please call us at (626) 642-8066 or email us at info@bccvisalaw.com. An attorney in our office would be happy to assist you.

Millions of people want to come to the United States to live. To manage this process the law sets eligibility standards and also limits how many people can immigrate each year. One of the most common ways people immigrate is based on a relationship to a US citizen. If you want to help a relative immigrate, start the process by filing an Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative. Sometimes the relative petition can be combined with a permanent resident application (i.e., green card) by the relative as discussed below.

Who are the relatives that I may file for?

Any US citizen can file for the following relatives:

Husband or wife

• Children, and sons and daughters

A US citizen who is 21 or older can also file for the following relatives:

• Parents

• Brothers and sisters

In your relative petition, you will have to prove your relationship to the person for whom you are filing.

What does the immigrant petition do for my relative?

Filing a relative petition and proving a qualifying relationship gives the relative a place in line among others waiting to immigrate based on the same kind of relationship. When the place in line is reached, the relative may be eligible to apply to immigrate.

For example: You file a relative petition for your sister. If the USCIS approves it, your petition gives her a place in the line of people from the same country who are also brothers and sisters of US citizens. Your relative’s place in line will be based on the date you file your petition. So, there is an advantage to filing as soon as possible. There is no waiting line for a US citizen’s parent, spouse, or unmarried child under age 21.

What about other relatives?

The law limits eligibility to the relatives listed above.

What about my relative’s family?

In most cases, when your relative’s place in line is reached and he or she applies to immigrate, his or her husband or wife and unmarried children under 21 can apply as dependents.

For example: You file a relative petition for your sister. You cannot directly petition for her husband and children. However, they can apply for immigrant visas with her, when her place in line is reached. On the other hand, a separate relative petition must be filed on behalf of each person who qualifies as your direct relative, including your children.

For example: To sponsor your mother and father, file a separate petition for each. If they have other children—your brothers and sisters—also file separate petitions for each of them.

For example: You marry a woman with a child. The child will usually qualify as your stepchild if he or she was unmarried and less than age 18 when you married the mother. In that case, you would need to file one relative petition for your wife, and another for your step-children.

After I file, how long will it be before my relative can immigrate?

The law gives special standing to a US citizen’s husband or wife, unmarried children under 21, and parents.

• There is no waiting list for immigration for these relatives.

• The Department of State will invite them to apply for an immigrant visa as soon as the USCIS approves your relative petition. In some cases, the petition can be filed outside the US, directly at the US Consulate.

• If they entered legally and are currently in the US (and meet certain other requirements), they may be able to file applications to adjust to permanent resident status (i.e., green card).

For other relatives, the combination of high demand and the limits set by law on how many people can immigrate each year means your relative may have to wait several years while relative petitions that were filed before theirs are served. When your relative reaches the “front of the line”, the Department of State contacts your relative and invites him or her to apply for an immigrant visa. If you are interested in current wait times for visa numbers, see Visa Bulletin at http://bccvisalaw.com/immigration-to-usa.php

Can my relative wait in the United States until becoming a permanent resident?

Your approved relative petition gives your relative a place in line among those waiting to immigrate. It does not let him or her come to the US or remain here until he or she can apply for permanent residence. He or she should wait outside the US to immigrate legally. If he or she comes or stays without legal status, it will affect his or her eligibility to become a permanent resident when his or her place in line for a visa is reached. However, if your husband or wife, unmarried child under 21, or parent is already in the US after having entered legally (and in certain other circumstances), and applies for permanent residence when you file your relative petition, then he or she may, with certain exceptions, remain in the US while the USCIS processes their application for permanent residence (i.e., green card).

Does filing a relative petition commit me to anything?

Under the law, every person who immigrates based on a relative petition must have a financial sponsor. If you choose to sponsor your relative’s immigration by filing a relative petition, then when the time comes, you must agree to be his or her financial sponsor and file an affidavit of support. If you do not meet the financial qualifications, then other individuals will also have to make this commitment.

What happens after I file?

If you file by mail, the USCIS will mail you a receipt so you know the USCIS has your relative petition. If your relative petition is incomplete or improperly prepared, the USCIS may have to reject it, or ask you for more evidence or information, which will delay processing.

The USCIS will notify you when they make a decision. Normally, when the USCIS approves the relative petition, they will send it to the US State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC). Once your relative’s place in line for a visa number is reached, the NVC will notify you and your relative, inviting him or her and qualifying dependents to apply for immigrant visas.

How long will it take USCIS to process my petition?

Processing time depends on a number of factors. You can check the current processing times at http://bccvisalaw.com/ins-processing.php.

What if I filed a petition for a relative when I was a permanent resident, but I am now a US citizen?

If you become a US citizen while your relative is waiting for a visa, you can upgrade your relative's visa classification by upgrading your petition. Husbands or wives and unmarried children under age 21 of US citizens have visas immediately available to them.

• If you become a US citizen after your relative petition is already approved and sent to the State Department, you should notify the NVC that you have become a US citizen by sending a copy of your naturalization certificate to the NVC.

• If your relative is your spouse and he or she has children who are your step-children or adopted children, and you did not file separate petitions for them, you must file separate petitions for them now with evidence of your US citizenship.


THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE IS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE. SUCH INFORMATION IS INTENDED TO EDUCATE MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC GENERALLY AND IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO INDIVIDUAL PROBLEMS. READERS ARE CAUTIONED NOT TO ATTEMPT TO SOLVE INDIVIDUAL PROBLEMS ON THE BASIS OF INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN AND ARE STRONGLY ADVISED TO SEEK ADVICE FROM AN EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY REGARDING SPECIFIC CASE SITUATIONS.

Return to FAQ


Copyright © 2001-2014 Law Office of Bobby C. Chung, P.C. All rights reserved.
Legal Notice | Frequently Asked Questions | Sitemap