Whether presently in the country or applying from abroad, the process of obtaining permanent residence in the United States can often be a complicated one.  Obtaining a green card generally requires that an immigrant petition be filed by a family member or an employer; however, individuals can also apply for a green card on their own either through an asylum application or as an investor.  There is also a lottery held each year which awards green cards to foreign nationals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S.

U.S. citizens and green card holders in the United States can petition for their family members to become permanent residents of the United States.  Spouses, parents, and unmarried minor children of U.S. citizens make up the “immediate relative” category of family-based green card petitions.  Although there is no annual limit to the amount of immediate relative green cards that can be issued each year, as part of the application process, the U.S. citizen must provide proof of the familial relationship, proof of their U.S. citizenship status, and proof that the U.S. citizen can adequately support the family member financially in the event that the petition is granted.

Aside from the unlimited immediate relative category for family members of U.S. citizens, there are other family-based visa categories that, although limited in number, provide a path to permanent residency for additional relatives of U.S. citizens and green card holders.  These additional categories are called “preference categories” and often involve long wait times for immigrant visa availability.  Some examples of the preference categories include siblings and married children of U.S. citizens and spouses and unmarried children of green card holders.

Understanding the family-based visa petition process can often be difficult.  The wait times for some family-based beneficiaries to receive their green cards could be anywhere from several months to several years.    

There can be complicated inadmissibility issues for the beneficiary depending on their age and immigration history.  At Dworken & Bernstein, our attorneys are highly competent and experienced and can assist you through every step of the family or employment-based green card process.  It all starts with a free consultation with an experienced attorney at Dworken & Bernstein who will start by discussing your immigration history with you in-depth.  Regardless of your current status in the United States, our immigration attorneys can help you with all of your green card issues, from finding the most appropriate path to a green card, to petitioning for it, to helping you maintain your permanent status.

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