ATTORNEY - Merita Rice
Obtaining Green Card for family members of American Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders)
The Woodlands Immigration Attorney assists U.S. Citizens and Green Card Holders to petition for a family member to become a permanent resident (obtain a green card) through an immigrant visa, or in some cases through adjustment of status. The beneficiary or applicant can be “an immediate relative” or a “preference category” family member. Petitioner can be a U.S. citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident (green card holder).
U. S. Citizens can petition for:
immediate relatives: spouse (husband or wife), children (applies only when child is unmarried and under 21 years old), parents (when the petitioning son or daughter is at least 21 years old)
family members who are not considered immediate relatives for immigration purposes and fall under a preference category: Unmarried sons and daughters (applies to those who are over 21 years old), Married sons and daughters of any age, brothers and sisters of American citizens.
Green Card Holders can petition for:
family members who are not considered immediate relative for immigration purposes and fall under a preference category: spouse (husband or wife), unmarried children (under 21 years old), unmarried adult sons and daughters (of any age) of permanent residents.
The immediate relatives (spouses, children and parents of American Citizens) have visas available to them at all times. This means that if those relatives entered United States lawfully and are currently here, they may be able to apply for adjustment (green card) without having to leave the country. If the immediate relatives are abroad, as soon as the immediate relative petition is approved, they can start consular processing to obtain their visa.
Preference categories are family members who are not considered immediate relatives for immigration purposes. Visas are limited for preference category family members, so there is always a waiting line as short as 1 year, or as long as 20 years for a visa to become available depending on the category the applicant falls under, and the country the applicant is from. When a priority date (date the sponsoring petition was filed) becomes current, a visa becomes available and that is when the consular processing begins if the applicant is abroad. If the applicant is already in the United States lawfully under a different type of non-immigrant visa, the applicant may be able to adjust status but this does not happen often.
To learn more about filing a case for your husband or wife, visit Green Card through Marriage page.
To learn about filing a case for your fiance, visit Fiance Visa page.