PARENTS & CHILDREN | Important Considerations
Applying for one’s parents and/or children to receive a Green Card can be a very effective way to unite families that have been separated. However, only US Citizens can petition for their parents to receive a Green Card, which means that Green Card holders must first naturalize and become US Citizens before they can petition for their parents. Once a US Citizen properly petitions for a parent, such parent can potentially receive an immigrant visa or Green Card within as little as 6-12 months.
In regards to children, even though both US Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents can petition for their children to receive Green Cards, only certain children may be eligible for approval. That is, children are placed into different categories and the rules that apply to them change depending on the assigned category. For example, a Green Card holder is not eligible to petition for a child who is already married, but a US Citizen can complete such a petition.
Furthermore, waiting periods differ significantly depending on the circumstances and categorization of each case. Some applicants will likely wait 8 years or more to receive their Green Cards (such as children over 21 years old), while others may need to only wait 6-12 months from the time the petition is submitted.
Due to the lengthy waiting periods it is critical to understand how to qualify for each family-based preference category so that one can minimize the wait period while properly planning for the future. Please contact us if you are interested in a free phone consultation.
MARRIAGE & ENGAGEMENT | Green Cards for Couples
Upon receiving a legal marriage certificate, both US Citizens and Green Card holders are generally eligible to petition for their spouse’s Green Card. Once the initial petition is submitted, waiting periods typically vary from 9 months to 2 years depending on the specific circumstances of each case.
In regards to engagement, a visa pathway exists known as a K-1 which provides for this option. However, it is very important to note that K-1 visas are only available to fiancés of US Citizens, which means they are not available to fiancés of Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card holders). Additionally, after being approved for a K-1 visa and arriving in the US, the engaged couple must get married within 90 days (and then submit a Green Card application for the spouse), as K-1 status is only valid for a maximum of 90 days once inside the United States (K-1 extensions are not possible).
BROTHERS & SISTERS | Green Cards for Siblings
Petitions for siblings represent the fourth and final preference category in the US family immigration system, which means that the waiting period is very lengthy. To be more specific, at the current moment a petition for a sibling requires a waiting period of approximately 11-12 years.
Additionally, only US Citizens may apply for their siblings to receive Green Cards (Green Card holders are not eligible to petition for their siblings). This type of petition obviously does not provide immediate solutions due to the significant waiting period, but it can be a useful petition when used in tandem with a strategy to obtain a non-immigrant status during the waiting period.