There is a reality that exists today. One that is unfortunate and painful to accept, but never the less it exists. That is that there are families that are separated by international borders and the immigration laws of the United States may or may not provide relief for this situation. Family reunification has long been an important concept in immigration law. The family based immigration can be difficult and complex.
Not all family relationships serve as a basis to apply for lawful permanent residence (LPR). U.S. citizens can without numerical limits, file an immigration petition on behalf of their “immediate relatives” – spouses, children, and parents. Within specified numerical limits, U.S. citizens can file an immigration petition on behalf of their unmarried sons and daughters, their married sons and daughters and their brothers and sisters. Subject to numerical limits, permanent resident aliens can file an immigration petition on behalf of their spouses, children, and unmarried sons and daughters. There are two basic categories. The first being the immediate relatives category. The second being the family preference category. The immediate relatives consist of:
Spouses of us citizens;
Applying for U.S. lawful permanent residence based on marriage to a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S. is a commonly used path to a green card. Marriage does not offer immediate or automatic U.S. citizenship. Applicants must comply with a lengthy, complicated application process and prove that the marriage is valid, before a U.S. green card can be awarded. You may want to enter the U.S. before getting married, on a nonimmigrant, fiancée visa or as a non-immigrant already married, on a K-3. Our law firm offers consular processing for any family-based immigration case.
Minor unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of us citizens;
Parents of us citizens, provided the citizen petitioner is at least 21 years of age;
Spouses of deceased U.S. Citizens who were married for at least two years at the time of their citizen spouses’ death.
The family preference category includes four preferences.
First preference is the unmarried sons or daughters of U.S. citizens (those 21 years of age or older).
Second preference consists of spouses or children of aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence; or unmarried sons or daughters of aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence.
Third preference being married sons or daughters of citizens of the United States.
Fourth preference includes the brothers and sisters of citizens of the United States, if such citizens are at least 21 years of age.