Family Based Green Card

What Is Family Based Green Card ?

Based on specified family links, U.S. immigration law allows certain foreign nationals who are family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to become lawful permanent residents (obtain a Green Card). There are two routes through which a person can obtain a Family-Based Green Card- 1- Immediate Relatives.  2Preference Relatives

Who are Immediate Relatives?

A person is eligible for the immediate relative category if he/she is:

  • The spouse of a U.S. citizen;
  • an unmarried child (under 21 years) of a U.S. citizen; or
  • The parent of a U.S. citizen (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age or older).

The immediate relatives have certain benefits over the preference category. That’s because there is no capping on the number of visas that can be issued to immediate relatives. The immigrants under this category do not have to wait for the visa number to immigrate. Moreover, certain bars to adjustment do not apply to the Immediate relatives category.

Preference Relatives

Other family members eligible to apply for a Green Card are described in the following family “preference immigrant” categories:

  • First preference (F1) – unmarried children (21 years of age and older) of U.S. citizens;
  • Second preference (F2A) – Spouses and children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of lawful permanent residents;
  • Second preference (F2B) – unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of lawful permanent residents;
  • Third preference (F3) – married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; and
  • Fourth preference (F4) – Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age and older).

Eligibility For Adjustment Of Status

If the beneficiary is currently in the United States, in order to be eligible for a Green Card as an immediate relative, he/she –

  1. Must have been-
    • Inspected and admitted into the U.S.; or
    • Inspected and paroled into the U.S.
  2. Must properly file an adjustment of status application(Form I-485).
  3. Must be physically present in the U.S.
  4. Must be eligible to receive an immigrant visa.
  5. An immigrant visa must be immediately available when filing the adjustment of status application and at the time of final adjudication. (A visa is always available for immediate relatives.)
  6. Must be admissible to the U.S. for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other forms of relief.
  7. Must merit the favorable exercise of discretion.

You can reach out to our immigration lawyers to determine your eligibility for the Immediate Relative category of family-based green card.

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Other Type Of Green Card

How to Apply Family Based Green Card?

If the beneficiary is currently residing in the United States and meets certain other criteria, he/she can apply for a Green Card by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence, or Adjust status, without leaving the country.

As an immediate relative, the beneficiary may file Form I-485 concurrently with Form I-130, Petition for foreign relative filed on his/her behalf, while Form I-130 is pending, or after the Form I-130 is approved (and remains valid).

Consular Processing Of Family Based Green Card?

If the beneficiary is residing outside the U.S., he/she can apply for an immigrant visa in the U.S. Consulate abroad to enter the country and become a permanent resident. Application processed through this path is known as Consular processing.

Steps for Consular Processing Of Family based Green Card

Consular processing is a multi-step process, and it’s crucial that you understand the formalities that you need to go through. Here’s what you should expect:

➜ 1. Determine Your Basis to Immigrate

The first stage in consular processing is to see if you are eligible to apply for a Green Card (lawful permanent residence).

➜ 2. File the Immigrant Petition

The beneficiary will need a qualified family member to file an immigrant petition on his/her behalf.

➜ 3. Wait for a Decision on Your Petition

The petitioner is notified of the decision by USCIS. If USCIS denies the petition, the notice will state the grounds for the denial as well as whether you have the right to appeal the decision. If your petition is approved and you live outside of the U.S. (or if you live in the United States but want to apply for an immigrant visa in another country), USCIS will forward your petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center. The petition will be kept there until you receive an immigrant visa number.

➜ 4. Wait for Notification from the National Visa Center

The National Visa Center (NVC) is responsible for collecting visa application fees and supporting documentation. The NVC will notify the petitioner and you (the beneficiary) when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is about to become available. They will also notify you when you must submit immigrant visa processing fees and supporting documentation.

➜ 5. Go to Your Appointment

Once a visa is available or your priority date is current, the consular office will schedule you for an interview. The consular office will process your case and decide if you are eligible for an immigrant visa.

➜ 6. Notify the National Visa Center of Any Changes

You should, contact the NVC if:

  • You change your address,
  • You were under 21 but have now reached the age of 21, or
  • You change your marital status.

These changes may affect your eligibility or visa availability.

➜ 7. After Your Visa is Granted

If you are granted an immigrant visa, the consular officer will give you a packet of information. This packet is known as a “Visa Packet.” Do not open this packet. It should be unsealed by a U.S. officer at an official port of entry.
You will need to pay a USCIS Immigrant Fee. When you arrive in the United States, you should give your Visa Packet to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry. The CBP officer will inspect you and determine whether to admit you into the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

➜ 8. Receive Your Green Card

If you have paid the USCIS Immigrant Fee, you will receive your Green Card in the mail after you arrive in the United States. If you did not pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee before you arrived in the United States, you will need to pay the fee before USCIS will send you a Green Card.

The comprehensive family-based green card applications can be best handled by experienced immigration lawyers like the Law Office Of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC, New York. We have 20+ years of experience in processing green card applications for preference and immediate relatives and can help you in your application process. Because of our experience in this field, we are able to anticipate problems and find solutions.
Reach out to the Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC, at or call us at 212-354-1010.


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