Family unification is one of the defining principals of US immigration law and policy. Family relationship can be the ticket to a green card. Unfortunately, the US government recognizes only certain family relationships for green card petitions.
Recognized relationships, depending on their details, include:
|Relationships recognized||Relationships not recognized|
Family-based immigration is a two-step process. First, the petitioning family member files an I-130, essentially asking the government for permission for the benefiting family member to apply for a green card. For fiancés and fiancées, an I-129F is filed instead of an I-130. The petition is given a priority date, which marks the benefiting family member's place in line. Some family relationships have an instantly-current priority date and others take many years. The worst wait is for a US citizen's sibling from The Phillippines, who faces a wait exceeding 23 years. Once the government is servicing petitions with that priority date, the next step can occur.
In the next step, the benefiting family member files an I-485 if in the United States or a DS-230 or DS-260 with a US consulate in that benefiting family member's home country. This applies for the green card and will allow the government to schedule a green card interview at a local USCIS office for the I-485 or at the appropriate consulate for the DS forms. The petitioning family member will file an I-864 affidavit of support, showing the ability to support the benefiting family member financially.
It’s important to petition for family-based immigration as soon as possible. While the wait can be long and painful, a place in line will not be received without applying. Congress changes immigration laws from time to time. Congress could make the wait substantially shorter or it could change the law so one of the family relationships is no longer eligible as a basis for immigration. With a place in line, comes peace of mind. Furthermore, there is no prohibition on trying other immigration options also available or that arise while waiting.Contact us