For those of you who do not fall into the category of immediate relative, you may still have a chance at applying for a green card through a family member. People who belong to the “family preference” category include children who are unmarried and older than 21, children who are married (any age), and siblings – in this last case, the U.S. citizen must be over the age of 21.
Unlike the process for immediate relatives, there are a limited number of visas that are issued each year for this category. For this reason, the relative living abroad must wait until they are issued a visa number. The wait depends on the number of applicants for that particular visa during that year and other factors such as processing and government handling of requests.
If you are already in the U.S., your relative must file Form I-130. When it is approved, you must wait until the priority date in the family preference category becomes current. The priority date is the date when the I-130 is properly sent. When it becomes current, you can file the I-485 which will allow you to adjust your status. Eventually, the adjustment process will result in your status as a permanent resident.
If you are outside the U.S., you must undergo the process of consular processing. This type of processing occurs when USCIS works with the Department of State to issue a visa on an I-130 that has been approved. When the Department of State issues you the visa, you can travel abroad and will become a permanent resident when you enter the U.S.
As with most immigration cases, certain factors must be taken into consideration when filing for a green card or citizenship. For one, sometimes it is possible for a person to reach 21 years of age and still be classified as a child. As per the Child Status Protection Act, your child’s age can be frozen to the date when you filed the I-130. If your child was 19 years old when you filed, it may be possible for the child to still be considered at that age.
Also, if you are the child of a U.S. citizen, the status you belong to can change with marriage. If you get married, your status will change from “unmarried son or daughter” to “married child”. This change will result in delays in processing your application for a green card or when your visa will become available. You must keep USCIS informed on any changes in your marital status. Even if the I-130 has been filed, USCIS requires that you keep the agency informed about any changes to your application.
Immigration law is detailed and, at times, difficult to understand. If you are unsure about any policies or requirements, please contact Attorney Phillip Kim.
"Thank you so much for helping us get a Green Card and stay together in the US, Phillip! From clients Paul Dort & Lucero Wiley, California"
"Attorney Kim helped me and my wife realize our American dream of staying together in the US by getting my wife a Green Card. It took less than three months. Please call my cell. (559) 978-9497 or home at (559) 297-4040. I will tell you more about Attorney Kim's practice." - by Leo HISUGAN & Marites HISUGAN; Fresno, CA.
“We got our Green Card approved in less than three months. Everything went very well smoothly. Thank You. We highly recommend Attorney Kim. Please call us at (559) 475-0155. We will tell you more about our experience with Attorney Kim’s firm.” – by Raul TABADA and Family; Fresno, CA.
“I hired two other lawyers before Mr. Kim. They could not do it. It was denied. Finally, my third attorney, Mr. Kim helped me to get my green card even after my husband died. Please call me at (559) 776-6323 (ask for Reagan). We will tell you more about how Mr. Kim helped us.” – by Sochinda Nguon & Reagan; Fresno, CA"
“I finally received my green card. Mr. Kim helped me through the entire process. He also worked with my financial situation. I am glad that I chose him and that’s why I highly recommend him. Please feel free to call me to ask about Mr. Kim’s practice at (559) 412-0941.” by Lilian & Eric Williams; Fresno, CA"
“My green card application was denied. Attorney Kim appealed for me and attended the interview with me. It was approved at the interview. Please call me if you want to ask me about Attorney Kim’s work. (209) 534-7112.” – by Molly Harrington; Los Angeles, CA"