What to Know About Family-Based Green Cards

While there are many different ways that people acquire green cards, one of the most popular options to become a permanent United States resident is family-based green cards. In fact, family-based green cards currently account for about 2/3 of all of the green cards that are given out every year. Current permanent residents and citizens can use these green cards as a way to unite with their family members. What should you know?

There Are Different Types of Family-Based Green Cards

There are two main categories for family-based green cards, immediate relatives and family preference. Depending on which category you or your relative falls into, that will impact what the application process looks like and how long the process might take. For immediate relative visas, close relatives of current United States citizens are eligible. This is the fastest type of family-based green card to receive, but it also has the strictest requirements for eligibility.

In order to be eligible, you must be:

  • The child of a United States citizen, under the age of 21 and unmarried
  • The spouse of a United States citizen
  • An orphan adopted by a United States citizen
  • The parent of a United States citizen, over the age of 21
  • An orphan that will be adopted by a United States citizen

The family preference category is a bit broader. This type of family-based green card has a set number of how many can be issued in a calendar year, unlike immediate relative green cards. The different categories of family preference include:

  • Unmarried children of United States citizens and their minor children
  • Spouses, unmarried children over the age of 21, and minor children of current lawful permanent residents
  • Married children of United States citizens, as well as their minor children and spouses
  • Brothers and sisters of United States citizens, in addition to their minor children and spouses

The category that you choose matters, so if you are at all confused about which is right for you, do not hesitate to reach out to your attorney to learn more. Filing the wrong type of application can greatly impact whether or not it goes through and how long it takes.

What Documents Are Required?

If you are applying for family-based green cards, there are a variety of documents that will be required throughout the application and approval process. Some of these include:

  • An affidavit of support
  • A birth certificate
  • A marriage certificate, if the person is married
  • An immigration medical examination form
  • A passport that expires six months or longer past the intended date of entry
  • To passport photographs
  • Marriage termination documentation

While those will cover the basics, you may be asked for additional types of documentation depending on the circumstances of your application. Be prepared to cooperate with this process, as it can be lengthy.

Learn More About the Immigration Process from The Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence

If you or a loved one are concerned about a citizenship application, choose an experienced firm like the Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence to give you the help you need.  Please give us a call at 443.352.3201. Skype and telephone consultation are both available to clients.

Contact Us

    Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence, LLC.
  • Address: 90 Painters Mill Road Suite 201 Owings Mills, Maryland 21117
  • Phone: (443) 352-3201

  • Email: info@elawrencelaw.com

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