The United States Immigration System has two major categories under the “Family-based Immigrant” category; these are immediate family/relatives and family preferences. A US Citizen can file an official petition by following the K1 visa procedures.
Once a U.S. Citizen petitions a family member, they will fall under one of these two categories. Both categories define the type of relationship that the immigrant has with the U.S. sponsor and how they will be prioritized in receiving or obtaining a green card.
Immediate Family Category
This category has special immigration priority. They do not have to wait in line for a visa number to become available for them. They can migrate because there is an unlimited number of visas available to immediate relatives. Certain bars or restrictions do not apply to the Immediate Relative category. However, there is a limited number of visas for the preference categories. Waiting can last from six months to as much as 20 years.
Specific relatives under this category include the spouse of an American citizen, any unmarried child (under 21 years of age) of a U.S. citizen; an orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen, an orphan to be adopted in the United States by a U.S. citizen and a/the parent/s of a U.S. citizen (who is at least 21 years old).
Family members who do not fall on this bracket are then considered under the family preference category.
Requirements to Immigrate Through the Immediate Relative Category
Petitioning the Foreign Family Member
The sponsoring U.S. Citizen or Green Card holder must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of the foreign national relative. The petition submitted will be used to establish the immediate relative relationship between the petitioner and the relative being petitioned. The immediate family member must be able to provide documents to prove that he/she is a spouse, an unmarried child under 21 years of age, or the petitioner’s parent/s who are 21 years of age or older.
Documentations for the Immediate Qualifying Relative Should be Presented
Documents that will serve as evidence should be presented, and it should be complete. When filing the form for the petition, you are going to be asked to submit and send birth records that will establish proof of the biological relationships of the petitioner and the relative being petitioned. For married spouses, a valid marriage certification document will be asked to be presented or sent.
The Relative Being Petitioned Should Apply for the Green Card
The U.S. Citizen is in charge of filing the petition forms, but the relative being petitioned is responsible for applying for the green card. There are two ways that one can use. They can process obtaining the green card or immigrant visa from outside the United States through the U.S. EMbassy or consulate in their respective country. Then, a request for Adjustment of Status is processed. This is to change the status of a permanent resident.
U.S. Citizen Should Provide Proof of Financial Capacity
The U.S. Citizen is in charge of filing the petition forms, but the relative being petitioned is responsible for actually applying for the green card. There are two ways that one can apply. They can process obtaining the green card or immigrant visa from outside the United States through the U.S. EMbassy or consulate in their respective country. Then, a request for Adjustment of Status is processed. This is to change the status of the applicant to a permanent resident.
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The income requirement is that the Green Card holder should generally have an income that is at least 125% of the Federal poverty level. If the U.S. Citizen’s income does not meet the requirement, additional sponsors or a joint sponsor can be used. It does not matter if the joint sponsor is another relative or not. They will be provided with a document that will serve this purpose.