Permanent residents of the United States are individuals who have legal consent by the government to reside and work permanently in the country. The United States allows its citizens and permanent residents to petition for certain members of their family to come and live permanently in the United States.
Many people obtain a green card in the United States through family members already residing in the United States of America. To do so, a family member who is a permanent resident sponsors the individual who is petitioning for the green card.
Family-based immigration is an immigrant visa classification that allows an individual to become a permanent resident through a family member who is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. A green card can be obtained through a spouse, siblings, and parents.
What is a Green Card?
A green card is officially known as a Permanent Resident Card. It is an identification card that allows you to live and work permanently in the United States. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the federal agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States. It is a component of the Department of Homeland Security. Some of the services it provides include:
- Citizenship and Naturalization Services
- Immigration of Family Members
- Helping individuals find work in the United States
- Verifying someone’s legal right to work in the US
- Humanitarian Programs
- Civic Integration
Green card holders have the right to stay in the United States just like US citizens. It is a lawful permanent residence status that allows an individual to live and work in the United States; however, it is important to note that a permanent resident is not a United States citizen and does not enjoy the same privileges as a United States citizen, such as the right to vote.
People may qualify under one of several categories. The number of green cards issued under each category is limited each year. An immigration lawyer can help you understand the subject better.
The Green Card Categories Include:
- F1 – Unmarried, adult sons and daughters (age 21 or over) of US citizens
- F2A – Spouses and unmarried children (under age 21) of permanent residents
- F2B – Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents
- F3 – Married sons and daughters (any age) of US citizens
- F4 – Brothers and sisters of adult US citizens
What to Do When Filing for a Green Card
- The Bureau of US Citizenship and Immigration Services has several forms that require specific information. Follow the instructions and complete everything accurately. Failure to provide necessary documents and other information may create additional hassles or result in a denial.
- Follow the photograph-related instructions given by USCIS. Onsite photographers are also available in some local USCIS offices. You can inquire about them.
- Attach all the documents and provide appropriate translations where necessary. The USCIS will not process any of the forms if there are missing documents.
- Request an interpreter if you have trouble understanding English. Many USCIS offices have interpreters available. You can also bring your own interpreter.
- Hire a legal professional if you are a first time petitioner or have been previously denied entry into the United States, convicted of a crime, previously deported, overstayed a visa, made misrepresentations to the USCIS, or are currently in the country illegally.
Tell your attorney about your circumstances so that they can research the issues that need to be resolved before your family member or relative can get the green card.
Failure to reveal potential immigration problems may lead to a denial of your petition, deportation, and being barred from returning to the United States.