Family Based Petitions
US immigration law aims to, on some levels, unite family members together. The Family Based Green Card permits some foreign nationals whose family members are US citizens or legal permanent residents to also become legal permanent residents. Through Family Based immigration and according to the familial relationship foreign nationals have with US citizens and legal permanent residents, foreign nationals can obtain a green card.
Family members who are eligible for a Family Based green card are divided into two subcategories:
- Immediate Relatives: Preference for Family Based green cards is given to immediate family members of US citizens and legal permanent residents. Immediate relatives are broken down into categories, which include:
- IR-1: Spouses
- IR-2: Unmarried children who are minors (under the age of 21)
- IR-3: Orphans who are adopted abroad by a US citizen
- IR-4: Orphans who are adopted in the US by a US citizen
- IR-5: Parents of US citizens who are a minimum of 21 years of age.
- Family Preference: Other family members who are eligible for a Family Based Green Card. The categories of family preference include:
- F1: Unmarried children of US citizens who are 21 or older
- F2A: Spouses and minor unmarried children of legal permanent residents
- F2B: Unmarried children who are 21 years or older of legal permanent residents
- F3: Married children of US citizens
- F4: Siblings of US citizens who are 21 years or older
Family Petition Requirements
In order to apply for a Family Based green card, the participation of a minimum of two family members is required: a petitioner, and a beneficiary. Other requirements are as follows:
- The petitioner must be a citizen of the United States or a legal permanent resident.
- The beneficiary must fall into one of the above Immediate Relative or Family Preference categories.
Family Based Petition Costs
The costs of a Family Based green card vary and depend on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the applicant’s country of origin.
The following fees will apply:
- USCIS Form I-130 filling fees
- USCIS Form I-485 filing fees
- USCIS Form I-765 filing fees
- Fingerprinting fees
- Medical examination fees
- Biometrics fees
- Attorney fees
Family Based Green Card Process
Once the I-130 petition is approved or an immigrant visa is available, the Family Based green card processing time will vary. There are two ways that a Family Based Green Card can be acquired by:
- Adjustment of status, or the process of changing the status of an immigrant already in the US to a permanent resident.
- Counselor processing, which can be used for immigrants who are within or outside of the US; a Family Based green card is applied for via a US Embassy or a foreign country’s consular office.