Permanent Residence in the United States
Immigrating to the United States on permanent basis is the dream of many around the world. There are different ways to immigrate to the United States, apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States and to get a Green Card. If you are a person with a relative who is a US citizen or a Green Card holder, you may be eligible to apply for a Green Card using a family based petition. Not all the family members are eligible to apply using family based petitions, only certain categories of eligible dependents may be eligible to file family based petitions. Filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and getting it approved is the first step in helping your relative to immigrate to America.
If you are a foreign national and if you are married to a US citizen or a Green Card holder, then your spouse may file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to sponsor you. In order to file Form I-130, your spouse must be capable of supporting you, financially. A US citizen may sponsor his spouse to immigrate to the United States on permanent basis through the process of Consular Processing or through Adjustment of Status.
Consular processing applies when the foreign national spouse resides outside the United States, while the application for alien relative is in process. The approved application which was filed by the US citizen spouse or the US permanent resident will be forwarded to the US consulate, where the spouse resides. Adjustment of Status is the process for the spouses of US citizens or lawful permanent residents who are already in the United States. A person who is in the United States on some other status, married to a US citizen after they entered the United States as a visitor, worker or a student, may remain in the United States while their spousal petition is in process. The application process involves filing Form I-485 for Adjustment of Status along with the application for alien relative, Form I-130.
Other categories of family members like siblings and parents may also be sponsored for permanent resident status in the United States by a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident. Spousal applications are processed faster than the applications for other family members. An eligible family member who wishes to immigrate to America must wait for an available visa number, before they could apply for an immigrant visa or for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident.
A US citizen may file Form I-130 to sponsor a spouse, unmarried children below age 21, unmarried children above age 21, marriage children of any age, siblings and parents. A lawful permanent resident may file this form to sponsor a spouse and unmarried children below or above the age of 21.
A foreign national may get a Green Card to become a lawful permanent resident in the United States, if sponsored by a US employer. Employees who are already in the United States on a L1 or a H-1B visa may be eligible for employment based Green Cards.