Tag Archive Family


Related to a U.S. Citizen? Learn How to Get a Green Card!

There are multiple ways to get a green card as a relative of a U.S. citizen. As the spouse, unmarried child, or parent of an adult citizen (over 21 years old) you qualify as an immediate relative. Green cards for immediate relatives are unlimited, so there is no waiting for a visa as an immediate family member. Receiving a green card will allow you to live and work in the U.S. as a permanent resident.

If you are already in the United States, to receive a green card, you will file need to file for permanent residence. Second, you will petition for your status as an immediate relative of a citizen. For immediate relatives of U.S., these two steps can be done at the same time or you can submit your petition and then file for residence.

If you are not yet living in the U.S., you must submit your petition for residence as a family member of a citizen first. After your petition is submitted, there is a waiting period for a visa to allow you to travel to the U.S. This process is the same for immediate and non-immediate family members of citizens.

Your status as a child will most likely be counted from the date of your petition, and that to keep the status of child you must be 21 years old or younger. Also, children under 21 must be unmarried through the green card process in order to count as immediate relatives. If you are the married child of a U.S. citizen you do not count as an immediate relative, but can still petition for residence as a family member of a U.S. citizen.

For more information and help with getting a green card, contact attorney Phillip Kim in Fresno, California.

(559) 761-9742


Getting a Green Card: Who Qualifies For the LIFE Act?

The Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act allows some people to change their status to permanent resident even if they would not be otherwise eligible. Protection under the LIFE Act is called Section 245 adjustment of status and it might be able to help you get a green card.

To get a green card under the LIFE act, someone needs to have petitioned for you as an alien worker or relative or have a labor certification filed before April 30, 2001. If you have one of these petitions in your name, you may qualify for a green card through the LIFE act. Section 245 needs you to have a visa readily available to you, so file your form when one becomes available. If you have a visa available and the proper certification (listed above) the LIFE Act can provide permanent residence regardless of unlawful presence in the U.S., working illegally in the U.S., or leaving the U.S. during your stay, which disrupts your continuous stay. This means you can file for Section 245 residence under the LIFE Act if you are currently present in the U.S. unlawfully or have been working without a permanent work visa.

In order to receive a green card under section 245, you must be admissible to the U.S. This means you should be careful not to trigger inadmissibility. For example, you should not depart the country after unlawful stay in the U.S. because you will be barred from re-entry. Look into INA law for instructions on avoiding inadmissibility.

Children and spouses of section 245 green card holders may also be offered protection from removal if they have been living in the U.S. and can be granted employment lawfully under your LIFE Act residence card.

You should check the dates that section 245 requires you or your family to have been in the U.S. because they are often changing. Always be careful to file the most current forms with the most current information to avoid delays in your application process.

For more information and help with getting a green card, contact immigration attorney Phillip Kim!

(559) 761-9742


Immediate Relative of a U.S. Citizen? How You can Apply for a Green Card

One of the most popular ways of becoming a U.S. citizen is through an immediate family member. When it comes to applying for a visa, immediate relatives are given top priority.

There are an unlimited number of visas available for family members. So, if you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you will not need to be waitlisted until a visa number becomes available. Usually, a visa should be available right away.

You are designated as an immediate relative if you are the spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen. As a child, you must be under the age of 21 and unmarried. If you are applying as the parent, the U.S. citizen must be at least 21 years of age.

You may apply for a green card either while you are in the U.S. or while you are abroad.

If you are currently in the U.S., you can complete the application process in one step: you file an I-485 and your U.S. citizen relative petitions with Form I-130. This must be done at the same time. Filing forms can be complicated, and one mistake could result in a rejection of your request. It is recommended that you seek the assistance of an attorney who is specialized in immigration to help you file these forms.

Sometimes, the petitioner (the U.S. citizen you are related to) files the I-130 early. In this case, you can still file an I-485 as long as the petitioner’s request has not been rejected. When you receive a Notice of Action that tells you that the I-130 has been approved, you can submit from I-485. You will have to include a copy of the receipt or approval notice.

If you are not currently in the U.S., but are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you have a different process to go through. First, the U.S. citizen must file form I-130 and it must be approved by USCIS. When USCIS approves of the petition, you must wait until they notify you that you are eligible to apply for a visa. When a visa is available, it will be issued to you. Once you have your visa, you can travel with it and you will become a U.S. permanent resident when you enter the U.S. If you fail to apply for a visa within one year after the Department of State has told you that you are eligible, your petition could be terminated. This entire process is known as consular processing.

Some conditions make it difficult for you to apply for a visa or green card through an immediate relative. In immigration, good timing makes all the difference. If you are applying as a child of a U.S. citizen, you must apply before you reach the age of 21. Once you pass that age, you will be moved into a different visa preference category that will make it more difficult to apply through a U.S. citizen parent. A visa may not be available to you immediately, and this will cause a delay in adjusting your status or processing your request for a green card. So, it’s important to begin the visa application process as early as possible.
On the same note, sometimes it is possible for a person to pass the age of 21 and still legally be called a “child”. Under the Child Status Protection Act, it is possible that USCIS will determine your age based on the date your parent files the I-130 for you. For example, if a parent files the form while the child is 20 years old, it may be possible to request that the child’s age be determined by that date.

Another factor that will make the immigration process lengthier and sometimes impossible is marriage. If you are under the age of 21, applying for a green card through a U.S. citizen parent, and married, then you no longer fall in the category of “immediate relative”. This means that your status will change from top priority for a visa to third priority, and a visa will not be available for you right away. It is important to keep USCIS updated on any change in your marital status after the I-130 has been filed and before you receive a visa or permanent status.

Finally, some situations we have come across specifically include:

A spouse has entered the U.S. with a different type of visa (sometimes a student visa or visitor’s visa)

The spouse of family member’s visa has expired and they are seeking a change in status or to apply for a green card through an immediate relative

Green card renewal – you can renew your green card whether it is expired or not. Past criminal convictions will affect your chances for obtaining a renewal.

If you have any questions about applying for a visa or green card through an immediate relative, please contact Immigration Attorney Phillip Kim.