One of the most common methods of getting a green card is through a family member.
In order for a relative to sponsor a family member to immigrate to the United States, they must meet the following criteria:
- Be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and be able to provide documentation providing that status AND
- Prove that they can support their relative at 125% above the mandated poverty line, by filling out an Affidavit of Support.
There are two stages to a family-based petition before the family member, known as the beneficiary, becomes a permanent resident:
- Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative
The Permanent Resident or U.S. Citizen (sponsor) completes and submits the I-130 Petition on behalf of the beneficiary. Proof of the relationship must be included along with other required documentation.
- Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status) or Consular Processing
The family member will need to determine how they will file for their Green Card. If the family member is already in the U.S., they can choose to file Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing. If the family member is outside of the U.S., they will need to file through Consular Processing.
Certain immigrants who because of their close relationship to U.S. citizens are exempt from the numerical limitations imposed on immigration to the United States. Immediate relatives are: spouses of citizens, children (under 21 years of age and unmarried) of citizens, and parents of citizens 21 years of age or older.
Family Preference Categories
If your relationship does not qualify you as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, then you may be in what is called a “family preference category.” Eligible relatives include:
- First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.
- Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference number.
- Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.
- Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.
There are three processes for adopting a child internationally.
The Hague Adoption Convention is an international treaty that provides important safeguards to protect the best interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents who are involved in intercountry adoptions. All cases filed on or after April 1, 2008, seeking to adopt a child who habitually resides in any country outside of the United States that is a party to the Convention must follow the Hague process.
To be eligible, the following conditions must be met:
- Obtain a favorable home study from a Hague authorized individual
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Habitually reside in the United States
- If you are married, your spouse must intend to adopt the child
- If you are not married, you must be at least 25 years of age
If the Hague Adoption Convention does not apply, you may bring an adopted child as an immigrant if the following conditions are met:
- You are a U.S. citizen.
- You establish that you will provide proper parental care to the child
- You establish that the child whom you have adopted or plan to adopt is an “orphan” as defined in U.S. immigration law
- You establish that either you (and your spouse, if married) have adopted the child abroad, and that each of you saw the child in person before or during the adoption proceeding OR you will adopt the child in the United States after the child arrives in the United States (you must have permission to bring the child out of his or her own country and to the United States for adoption)
Immediate Relative Process
Under this process, an adopted child is considered, for immigration purposes, to be the child (or adult son or daughter) of the adopting parent if:
- The parent adopted the child before his or her 16th birthday (or before the 18th birthday under certain circumstances as described below). You submit evidence of a full and final adoption
- The parent had legal and physical custody of the child for at least two years while the child was a minor.
For more information about these services, please schedule a consultation at 978-905-9992.
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