How Family Can Be Pivotal To The Immigration Process

Becoming a United States citizen is the dream of many people, both those abroad and those already living in the United States. It’s also something that could become a reality for more people as society debates immigration policies and the federal government considers new procedures and laws. Working toward being able to live and hold a job here today takes many steps and there is more than one avenue to accomplishing this goal. One way is to ask a legal relative to help.


About Green Cards

A green card is an identification card that shows someone is allowed to permanently live and work in the United States. It is required if the person is going through the immigration process. Having a green card allows an immigrant to live in the country legally, but it does not make him a citizen. Once someone has had a green card for five years, he can apply for citizenship. If someone marries a citizen, this can be shortened to three years. Immigrants can apply for a green card whether they are already living in the United States or not.

Which Relatives Can Help

The United States government allows citizens to sponsor certain relatives. They include spouses, young children, unmarried children over 21, married children, grandchildren, siblings (brother & sister) and the sibling’s spouse and the sibling’s children who are under 21.

The government also allows people who already hold green cards to help their relatives get cards, too. However, this is more difficult for card holders than it is for citizens. There are fewer green cards available for immigrants whose relatives are legal permanent residents but not citizens. Legal permanent residents are allowed to sponsor fewer types of relatives than citizens can sponsor.

How Long the Process Takes

The time it takes to complete the process can be as long as several years, depending on a few factors. If the immigrant is already in the United States, the process is likely to be quicker. The waiting period also varies depending on nationality. There could also be other issues that affect the process, such as whether the immigrant is seeking asylum or qualifies for refugee status.

How the Process Works

The first step is to get an immigrant visa number. The federal government allows no more than 7 percent of all visas to go to one particular country, so the more people who want to come from the immigrant’s homeland, the longer the wait. Additionally, immediate family members of U.S. citizens are given preference over other relatives.

The immigrant must show he meets the requirements as an eligible relative of a citizen or permanent resident. He also must pass a background check. If he has been living in the United States without a green card, he will be subjected to additional review. Throughout the process, the applicant must comply with all requests for documentation or information. Medical records may also be reviewed.

The process of acquiring a green card can be a lengthy one, so it’s something that should be started as soon as possible. The good news is that there are ways for family members who are already living in the country legally to help. The effort is worthwhile, since getting a card enables immigrants to start their new lives in the United States.