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4 Important Things to Consider When Applying for a Green Card

November 22, 2021

To begin, what is a green card? Officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, it is proof of a person’s lawful permanent residency in the United States. A green card demonstrates that the cardholder is living in the United States legally. The United States government has therefore granted the green card holder the authorization to live and work in the country permanently. There are several different ways that a person can apply to receive a green card so that they can be a permanent resident of the United States. The ways in which a person can receive a green card is through employment, holding the status of a “special immigrant” like a religious worker, or for humanitarian reasons like having status as an asylee or refugee or being a human trafficking or crime victim. These paths are just a few of the many ways one can obtain a green card. But one of the most common ways people can obtain permanent residency is through a family member. If the person seeking this status is an “immediate relative” of the citizen or permanent resident, then they could be eligible to obtain a green card through that relative. According to the United States government’s US Immigration and Citizenship Services, an immediate relative is defined as the spouse of a U.S. citizen, the unmarried child under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen, or the parent of a U.S. citizen (21 years or old). Many times, this means that the family member can petition on their behalf. There are many people living in the United States and abroad whose parents have U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency. Clients frequently ask us during consultations if a parent with U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency can petition to obtain permanent resident status, or a green card, for their child. Generally, the eligibility criteria of the adult child hinges on whether or not they are married and whether or not they are under the age of 21. Please see a breakdown below to determine whether a family-based petition filed for a green card by your parent on your behalf is an option for you. My parent is a U.S. citizen. Can they petition to obtain a green card for me? Yes. An immigrant visa or green card is immediately available for the children of United States citizens. For immigration purposes, children are considered “unmarried people under the age of 21.” If you are over the age of 21 and unmarried, you are eligible to seek residency in this manner. This category is known as “first preference” or F1. Keep in mind that you will have to wait for your priority date to become current before you can apply for your immigrant visa, so it is not immediately available. If you are over the age of 21 and married, which is known as third preference (F3),  you are also eligible to seek residency and obtain a green card in this manner. You will also have to wait for your priority date to become current before you may apply for your immigrant visa. My parent is a […]

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