Because the laws and procedures in obtaining permanent residency for your family members are so complex, I think it may be very helpful to you if I illustrate the process by way of real-life examples.
Disclaimer. The following is intended only to give you a general idea of the topic. It is NOT intended to be legal advice. Everyone’s goals and situations are unique. Please consult an attorney to determine which method is best for your specific goals.
Maria obtained her permanent residency through an Immediate Relative petition filed by her eldest child who is a U.S. citizen. Unfortunately, immigration laws did not permit Maria’s other children still living in their home country to be included in her petition. The law does not permit dependents to be included in Immediate Relative petitions. This means that Maria had to leave her other children behind while she immigrated to the United States.
Attorney Avelino explained to Maria that as a permanent resident she can file a petition for her unmarried children whether they are minors or adults. However, her minor children will be issued their visas much faster than her children over 21 years of age.
Maria has three unmarried children. Christian is 22, Justin is 20 and Grace is 15.
The children currently fall in the following categories:
Justin and Grace = Family Second Preference (F2A) Spouses or Children (Under 21 years of age) of Permanent Residents.
Christian = Family Second Preference (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents.
Being in the F2A category, it might take Grace around 3-4 years to get her immigrant visa. Please keep in mind this is only a rough estimate for illustrative purposes only.
However, Justin’s case poses a problem because he will be over 21 years of age within 3-4 years. Therefore, he will most likely be transferred to the F2B category with his older brother Christian.
Being in the F2B category, it might take Justin and Christian around 10-12 years to get their immigrant visas. Please keep in mind this is only a rough estimate for illustrative purposes only.
Attorney Avelino warns Maria that if any of their children marry before immigrating, their petitions will be automatically revoked.
He also explains the sooner she petitions them, the sooner a priority date will be established for each of her children. The priority date is basically their number in line to get a green card. The priority date is established on the date that an immigrant petition is filed.
Once the petitions are approved, they are forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). Once each of their priority dates becomes current (their number in line to get a green card is up), NVC will contact Maria for further processing, paying of fees and document submission related to the visa application of the child whose priority date has become current. Once NVC completes its processing of each child, it will schedule that child for an interview at the U.S. Embassy in their home country.
Each child in turn will need to prepare all the documents required for the interview. Each child must have their visa application fees paid and medical examinations completed prior to their interview. Upon approval of his/her visa at the interview, his/her passport with the immigrant visa stamp is delivered to him/her by courier.
Other Real Life Examples for Family Based Petitions
- Example 1: U.S. Citizen Petitions Foreign Spouse Already In the United States and Her Children Who are Abroad
- Example 2: U.S. Citizen Child (21 years old or over) Petitions Mother Already In the United States and Father Who is Abroad
- Example 3: Permanent Resident Parent Petitions Children Living in their Home Country