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Are you seeking for a way to obtain permanent residency for a loved one? Do you want to ensure that your children can grow up within the safety of the United States borders? This section explains how you can petition for them to immigrate to the U.S using the Family-Based Immigration Petition.

Family-Based Immigration Petition

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, you can help a foreign relative or family member obtain permanent residence in the U.S. Permanent resident status affords your loved ones the privilege of living and working in the U.S.

The entire process is generally dependent on two individuals: the petitioner and the dependent. The first step is to file a petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130, with the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Who can petition?

In order to be eligible to petition for permanent residence on behalf of a loved one, you must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (a green card holder) or admitted into the U.S as a refugee or granted asylum in the past two years
  • be 21 years or above to file a petition for siblings or parents. There is no minimum age for other categories. Although, you would need to sign an Affidavit of Support, which requires a minimum age of 18.
  • have permanent residence in the U.S.

Who can you file a petition for?

There are two broad categories of family based visas that you can file a petition for. They are the immediate relative and family preference categories.

You can file for Permanent Residence (“Green card”) for you and any unmarried foreign-born child/ adopted child under 21, through Marriage to U.S. Citizen. You can make a petition on behalf of your spouse and any unmarried children of that spouse. In order to be eligible though, the children must be below the age of 21 at the time of filing the petition.

These individuals are classified as your immediate relatives. There is no limit to the general number of petitions that may be received on behalf of such persons. This means you are not likely to be caught by any yearly quota.

Permanent Residence (“Green card”) Petition for Parents of U.S. Citizen children over 21. You can also apply for permanent residency on behalf of your parents and any children that is above the age of 21. They are also classified as immediate relatives.

Adjustment of Status Petition filed in U.S. with permanent residency petition. If your loved one is already in the U.S, they can apply to have their status adjusted to become a permanent resident. In this instance, they’d need to file for I-485 after a visa number becomes available.

Immigrant Visa as battered spouse, child or parent. A spouse, child or parent of a U.S citizen that has been abused or battered by that person can also make a petition without the assistance of the citizen.

In this situation, you can apply for a waiver of the joint filing requirement that mandates the application to come from both of you. This frees you from the necessity of having to go through the abusive petitioner.

Fiance Visa Petition. If you wish to obtain permanent residence for your fiancé(e), who is a foreign national, you can file in respect of a fiancé(e) visa. You must however show that:

  • You are a U.S. citizen
  • You intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé entering the U.S. If not, the status automatically expires after 90 days and your fiancé would be in violation of the immigration law. This may lead to deportation.
  • You and your fiancé(e) are both legally free to marry
  • You met each other in person are least once within 2 years before filing your petition. You can have this condition waived though if meeting would be contrary to your customs or if it would be terribly difficult.

If your fiancé(e) has a child who is a minor and unmarried, s/he may also benefit from the petition.

All other Family Preference Immigration Visa

Every other category not specifically dealt with here would qualify as a family preference category. There is usually a numerical cap for petitions in respect of individuals under this category.

The persons that it covers include your married children, their kids and spouse, your brothers and sisters, their kids and spouses.

Removal of Conditional Residence

Conditional residence means that there is still some condition to be met before your loved one can obtain permanent residence. You can apply to remove the conditions on your permanent residence if:

  • You are still married to the same U.S. citizen are permanent resident after 2 years.
  • You are a child and, for a valid reason, cannot be included in your parents’ application
  • You are a widower who entered into your marriage in good faith
  • Your marriage has ended in divorce or annulment though you entered in good faith
  • You or your child has been battered or subjected to extreme hardship by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

 

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