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Helping demystify the process of securing a green card -- II

A few weeks back, our blog started discussing how those looking to fulfill their dream of coming to America should understand that the process requires much more than just filling out some forms. Rather, they must satisfy a host of eligibility requirements in order to secure a green card, meaning the immigration document that grants permanent resident status.

In today's post, we'll continue this discussion, focusing on those individuals looking to secure a green card via family members.

To recap, one of the following four requirements that must be satisfied in order to qualify for a green card is that the person must be eligible under one of the categories set forth under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Many people naturally look to satisfy this requirement based on family status.

This is due in large part to the fact that U.S. immigration law dictates that those considered an "immediate relative" of a U.S. citizen don't have to wait for a visa to become available, as there is no congressional cap for this particular category.

As to who can be considered an immediate relative, this includes parents of U.S. citizens (provided the citizen filing the visa application is 21 or older), spouses of U.S. citizens and unmarried children of U.S. citizens under the age of 21.   

As for those relatives of U.S. citizens or permanent residents who fall outside this classification, they will have to wait to apply until a visa granting permanent residence becomes available.  

These visas are allocated based on the following categories:

  • First Preference: Unmarried children of U.S. citizens over the age of 21
  • Second Preference A: Spouses and the unmarried children of permanent residents under the age of 21
  • Second Preference B: Unmarried children of permanent residents 21 years or age or older
  • Third Preference: Married children of U.S. citizens, their spouses and their minor children
  • Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens 21 and older, their spouses and their minor children

We'll continue to examine this complex topic in future posts.

If you have any questions regarding green card eligibility or other immigration-related matters, please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.  

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