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Seeking permanent residency for a relative

If you are a citizen of the U.S., chances are that you want to share your freedoms and privileges with your family members. The government offers many opportunities for immediate family members of citizens to obtain green cards, allowing them to live permanently in the U.S., seek employment and receive most of the same benefits as a U.S. citizen.

One advantage to seeking a green card for a family member is that it is generally a much easier process than most other immigration procedures. If your family member has no bars to his or her admissibility, the process is a matter of completing the correct forms and following the required steps. However, it is important to have a good understanding of the immigration laws and rules before you begin.

Getting the process going

To qualify for a green card under the immediate relative program, your family member must be related to you in one of the following ways:

  • Your spouse
  • Your unmarried child who is under the age of 21
  • Your parents if you are age 21 or older

The first step is to acquire a visa for your loved one. You will complete Form I-130 petitioning for your relative to obtain a visa. If the application is approved, your relative will immediately receive a visa instead of having to wait until one becomes available as with those who are not sponsored by an immediate family member. The next step is to request an adjustment of your loved one's status.

Adjusting status

Your loved one must complete a Form I-485 to register for permanent residence. He or she must be in the U.S. to do this, and there must be no bars to your relative's adjustment, such as:

  • Violation of immigration law, such as lying on an application
  • Criminal conviction
  • Communicable disease or no evidence of vaccinations
  • Affiliation with terrorist organizations

Your loved one will have to submit many types of documentation, such as birth certificate, proof of relationship to you and all records of past immigration to the U.S. Your relative will also receive information about having his or her biometrics taken, which includes fingerprints, photo and official signature, at the nearest immigration office in Colorado.

When your loved one has completed this process, he or she will receive a notice indicating the approval or rejection of the application. If your relative's petition for a green card is denied, you may wish to seek legal assistance for determining why and what can be done to appeal the decision.

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