Family Based Immigration

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Description

This is the process by which U.S. citizens and permanent residents can request that permanent residency be granted for their immediate family members (parents, children, brothers and sisters), given that they can demonstrate that they can financially support them in the U.S.

Who Is Eligible

There are two categories of petitions: relatives of U.S. citizens and relatives of legal permanent residents.

Relatives of U.S. Citizens:

US citizens may file petitions on behalf of the following family members:

  • Spouse;
  • Parents (if citizen is at least 21 years of age);
  • Married or unmarried children over 21 years of age and married children under 21 years of age, including stepchildren (unmarried children under 21 years of age are eligible for naturalization without having to go through the residency process); and
  • Brothers and Sisters (if citizen is at least 21 years of age).

Estimated wait periods for residency to be available for:

  • Spouse: 6-12 months (however, work permit is granted within 0 – 90 days)
  • Parent: 6-12 months (however, work permit is granted within 0 – 90 days)
  • Children over 21 years of age: 6-7 years
  • Married child under 21 years of age: 6 years

Important disclaimer: the above estimates are for informational purposes only. They are subject to change depending on the location and volume of cases handled by a particular US Immigration Service center.

Relatives of Permanent Residents:

Legal permanent residents may file petitions on behalf of the following family members:

  • Spouse; and
  • Unmarried children (including stepchildren)

The immediate family of the applicant is eligible to obtain permanent residency with all its benefits, at the same time the applicant receives his or her own permanent residency, if they are included in the petition at the time of making the adjustment of status.

If family members at not included in the resident’s own petition at the time of filing, then the legal permanent resident must apply separately after receipt of his/her own residency and go through a waiting period before obtaining the green card for the family member.

Estimated wait periods for residency to be available for:

  • Spouse: 5 years
  • Unmarried child under 21: 5 years
  • Unmarried child over 21: 9 years

Important disclaimer: the above estimates are for informational purposes only. They are subject to change depending on the location and volume of cases handled by a particular US Immigration Service center.

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