Do Family Members of US Citizens Qualify for Green Cards?
Once an illegal alien comes to the United States, whether it is for a short stay or in efforts of establishing permanent residency, their first priority should always be to seek asylum. A greed card holder (a US permanent resident) means that an immigrant has the right to enter, exit, work, and live in the United States.
The US issues Visas, Asylum, and Green Cards to qualified immigrants, but how do you know if you qualify?
Eligible immigrants must be:
- Immediate Relatives of US Citizens
- Distant Family Members of US Citizens
- Preferred Employees and Workers
- Green Card Lottery Winner
- Special Immigrants
- Refugee and Asylum
- Amnesty and Special Agricultural Worker
- Long Time Residents
- Special Cases
Immediate relatives of US Citizens are of top priority for qualifying and obtaining Green Card status. Applicants can receive a Green Card through the proper paperwork and application status. The term ‘immediate relative’ must include:
- Spouse of a US Citizen
- Unmarried person under 21 with at least one US Citizen parent
- Parents of US Citizens ages 21 or older
- Stepchildren and/or Stepparents of US Citizens
- Adopted children of US Citizen parents
While immediate relatives hold a higher value, immigrants whose distant family members are US Citizens are eligible to become Green Card Holders – but not right away. Because ‘distant’ family ties are held to a different standard, there is a limited amount of applications that are approved yearly (480,000), which are processed on a first come, first serve basis.
The demand for permanent residency is high, and the average wait period for Green Cards of distant members is between 4 to 24 years (longer waits for China, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Philippines). The term ‘distant relative’ includes, by order of priority:
- First Preference. Unmarried adults, 21+, who have at least one US Citizen parent
- Second Preference. A) Spouses and unmarried children (under 21) of Green Card holders or B) Unmarried children (21+) of a Green Card holder
- Third Preference. Married person (any age) with one US Citizen parent
- Fourth Preference. Siblings of a US Citizen age 21+
While family members, both immediate and distant, have priority over all other applicants, there are still ways to obtain a Green Card if you have no family ties in the United States.
About 150,000 Green Cards are given to immigrants with particular skill sets needed in the U.S. Market. These Preferred Employees must prove that the employer recruited the alien for the position, and prove that the employer has not found any willing, able, or qualified US workers to hire instead of the alien.
Green Card Lotteries account for 50,000 new permanent residencies every year. These Green Card Lotteries are made available to people from other countries and only a limited number of Visa Lottery tickets are given.
Occasionally, the U.S. gives EB-4 Visas for Special Immigrants in unique situations.
Other immigrants that could be eligible for Green Cards are those seeking refuge and asylum from their home countries, amnesty for those living illegal since January 1st 1982, other qualifying factors, and longtime illegal residents.
If you feel that you may be eligible for a Green Card, US Immigration Bonds can help you find an immigration attorney that can fight for you!
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