Family-based Green Cards- Tracy Immigration Services California
Family-based green cards are available to certain close family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (green card holders). The process involves the sponsoring family member filing a petition on behalf of the intending immigrant family member. Here are the basic steps for obtaining a family-based green card:
- Sponsorship: A U.S. citizen or green card holder who is an immediate relative (spouse, unmarried child under 21, or parent) can file a Form I-130 petition for their family member. For other family members, such as siblings or married children, different preference categories (F1, F2, F3, or F4) apply.
- Visa Availability: The waiting time for a family-based green card depends on the preference category and the relationship to the sponsoring family member. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens generally have no waiting period, while other preference categories may have significant backlogs due to annual quotas.
- Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: Once the visa becomes available, the intending immigrant can apply for status adjustment. (if already present in the U.S.) Or go through consular processing (if outside the U.S.). Adjustment of status is the process of applying for a green card while in the United States, while consular processing involves attending an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.
- Biometrics, Medical Examination, and Interview: The applicant will need to complete biometric fingerprinting, undergo a medical examination, and attend an interview to establish their eligibility for a green card. The interview is typically conducted by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer or a consular officer.
- Conditional Residence (if applicable): In certain circumstances, such as when the marriage is less than two years old at the time of obtaining the green card, the green card may be initially granted on a conditional basis. Conditional residents must file a joint petition to remove the conditions within the 90-day period before the expiration of the two-year period.
It’s important to note that the family-based green card process can be complex, and specific requirements may vary depending on individual circumstances. It’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or qualified immigration service provider for personalized guidance and assistance throughout the process.
How long does a family-based green card take?
The processing time for a family-based green card can vary depending on various factors. Including the specific category of the family-based green card, the country of changeability, the backlog of applications, and other individual circumstances. Here are some general estimates for the processing times of family-based green cards:
- Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens: Spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents of U.S. citizens are considered immediate relatives and have unlimited visa numbers available. The processing time for immediate relatives can vary. But in many cases, it can take around 6 to 12 months from the time of filing the I-130 petition to receiving the green card.
- Preference Categories: Other family members fall into preference categories. Which have annual quotas and limited visa availability. The processing times for these categories can be longer due to higher demand and limited visa numbers. The waiting times can range from several months to several years, depending on the specific preference category and the individual’s country of charge ability.
It’s important to note that these estimates are general guidelines and are subject to change based on various factors, including government processing times and backlogs. Additionally, USCIS processing times can vary between different service centers and can be influenced by factors such as the complexity of the case or the need for additional documentation.
To get the most accurate and up-to-date estimate of processing times for your specific family-based green card application. It’s recommended to consult the USCIS website or contact an immigration attorney or qualified immigration service provider. They can provide personalized guidance and advice based on your individual circumstances.