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Family-based immigration allows a foreign national to become a lawful permanent resident through a relative who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.
Filing for permanent residency also allows one to obtain an employment authorization document, commonly referred to as a “work permit,” which authorizes lawful employment in the United States.
Certain foreign nationals are allowed to permanently immigrate to the United States for the purpose of family unity. The relationships that can serve as sponsors for family based immigration petitions are as follows:
Spouse, mother, father and children under twenty-one years of age of a United States Citizen.
Unmarried sons and daughters (over 21 years of age) of a United States Citizen.
Spouse and unmarried sons and daughters under 21 years of age of lawful permanent residents (green card holders) are classified as Family 2A, unmarried sons and daughters over 21 years of age are classified under Family 2B.
Married sons and daughters (over 21 years of age) of United States Citizens.
Brothers and sisters of United States Citizens.
Most family-based visa petitions are initiated when the sponsoring relative files an immigrant visa petition, also known as a Form I-130, with the appropriate Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Service Center or U.S. Consulate abroad. The date of receipt of this petition by USCIS establishes the “priority date,” or place in line for an immigrant visa.
Processing times for these petitions vary from several months or much longer depending on visa availability. When a petition is approved, and the “priority date” becomes current (i.e. after any applicable waiting line has passed), the sponsored individual may apply for an immigrant visa or, where eligible, apply for adjustment of status to obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States.
An immigrant visa permits the individual to become a legal permanent resident (“green card” holder) after admission to the United States with the immigrant visa. Additionally, an individual must otherwise be eligible to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the United States or be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility. An individual’s admissibility will be thoroughly assessed before a visa petition is filed by the experienced Immigration Attorney at Anna Korneeva Law.
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