Step by Step Guide in Petitioning A Family Member
Do you have relatives who are green card holders? Do you want to join them, but do not know how? Here is the procedure in filing petitions for your Filipino relative. Familiarize yourself with it, share it with your relative, and realize your dream of being with your loved one.
Green card for immediate family members
Evidently, it is easier for immediate family members to obtain a green card. It is because, visa numbers are already available. You fall under this category if you are the US citizen’s:
- Unmarried child who is less than 21 years old
- If you are a parent of a US citizen who is more than 21 years of age
Green card application inside the US
There are instances where an individual can file for a green card while in the US
- Concurrent Filing (One step process)–In concurrent filing, one can file Form I-485 (Application to Register for Permanent Resident or Adjustment of Status) along with the petitioner’s submission of Form I-130 or the Petition for Alien Relative while he or she stays in the US.
This one-step process is one of the privileges of having immediate US relatives. Under this context, visa numbers are available to the applicant provided that he or she is eligible for an adjustment of status. The latter’s eligibility is determined first before a visa number is given.
- Two-step process –Applicants can still pursue a two-step process as long as their petition has not been denied. All they have to do is to file Form I-797 (Notice of Action) together with Form I-485.
- Step one –During the first step, the petitioner files Form I-130.
- Step two –Upon receiving Form I-797, the applicant can now file Form I-130. Remember, in this process, the applicant’s status should be either pending or approved
Who is qualified for concurrent filing?
- Immediate family members of US citizens
- Employment-based applicants whose family members are waiting for visa numbers
- Religious workers, together with their eligible family members
- Self-petitioning spouse or child provided that their abusive spouses or parent is a US citizen
- Armed Forces member who are applying under the Immigration and Nationality Act
Green card application outside the US
- Consular processing – Immediate relatives of a US citizen who are outside the country can gain permanent residency through consular processing. Through the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), individuals can apply for permanent residency in US consulates abroad as long as a visa number is available and the petition has been approved.
Guide to consular processing
- Identify your permanent residency eligibility
- Next, one should file for an immigrant petition – Evidently, this is done by your immediate US citizen relative
- Wait for the petition’s decision
- If the petition is approved, applicants must wait for the National Visa Center (NVC) notification. NVC is responsible for visa number issuance
- Attend the appointment –If the visa is already available, consular offices shall notify the applicants for an interview
- Informing the NVC for changes –Never forget to inform the NVC for any profile changes
- Visa granting – Once you obtained the Visa Packet, never open it. This is the duty of the customs and border officer
- Green card –Get your green card thirty (30) days upon your arrival
Green card for family members (Family preference category)
Those who do not qualify as immediate relatives can still obtain permanent residency via family preference categories.
Family members are classified as:
- Unmarried sons and daughters who are over 21 years old (first preference)
- Spouses and unmarried children of permanent resident (second preference)
- Married sons and daughters who are over 21 years of age (third preference)
- Siblings of the US citizen. Petitioner should be above 21 years old (fourth preference)
Applying for a green card inside US
Family members who are inside the US need to follow these simple steps to obtain a green card
- Step one – Your US citizen relative (sponsor) shall file Form I-130. Once approved, applicants need to wait until their priority date becomes “current.”
- Step two – Once the priority date becomes “current” then you can now file Form I-485.
Applying for a green card outside US
If applying outside the United States, one should go through consular processing
For family member of a permanent resident (Second preference)
Green card holders are allowed to bring their families in the US. However, approval rates under this category are not that high compared to other family-based preferences. The US government sets a limit with regard to the number of entries of individuals who are within this group.
Green card application (inside and outside US)
If inside the US, this category follows the same processes as those of other family-based preferences. The same thing applies for those who want to apply outside the United States. They need to follow the procedures of consular processing.