A U.S. citizen or a green card holder can petition and get a family member into the United States of America. The United States has a policy goal of family unification, the steps are listed below.
Those who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and have members staying outside the country can bring them into the country and enable them to get green cards or legal permanent residence. They can thus help them get Immigration visas.
The steps are the same – for either a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident. This is stated assuming the family member or members live abroad.
WHO ARE THE FAMILY MEMBERS WHO ARE ALLOWED TO IMMIGRATE?
There are 2 categories – “immediate relatives” is the first category and “family preference relatives” the second. Immediate relatives are not under scrutiny for limitations under the number of immigrant visas given away each year. Under this category fall the following kinds of relatives:
• SPOUSE OF U S CITIZENS
• THEIR UNMARRIED CHILDREN WHO ARE OF AGE BELOW 21 YEARS
• ORPHANS WHO HAVE BEEN ADOPTED ABROAD.
For “Family preference relatives” these individuals have to abide by the annual quotas in visas that are issued each year. The quota is issued as per the country in which the foreign person was born. This category could entail long waiting periods, as more and more people are applying for visas these days. The waiting period could involve decades.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
The first part of the process begins with the green card holder in the United States submitting the form I-130, of the PETITION FOR ALIEN RELATIVE. This form can be downloaded from the USCIS website or can be obtained from any of the USCIS offices. It is advised that the petitioner for the family member keep a copy of every document that is submitted.
Once the petition form is received by the USCIS it will be verified for authenticity. If there are any forms missing the same will be advised to the petitioner who will then have to furnish them. A Request for Evidence in such cases will be sent to the petitioner. Once the said evidential document is given a USCIS Approval Notice will be given. Where the case has been forwarded to will also be mentioned in the letter.
NATIONAL VISA CENTER
The case will be then forwarded to the National Visa Center. The file will be on hold with this center till the waiting period for the relative is over and a visa could now become available. The filing date of the petition is called the “priority” date. A monthly Visa Bulletin is printed in which the priority dates that are being processed are shown.