For an individual to apply for a green card under family based immigration, they must be a close family member of a United States citizen or a United States permanent resident. Under San Diego Immigration law, the detailed categories are as followed:
Unlimited Family Based
For individuals to fall under the unlimited family based category, they must either be immediate relatives of the US citizen or returning residents. Immediate relatives include:
- A spouse or widow(er) of the US citizen
- Children of the US citizen – To qualify as a child in this category, the son or daughter must be unmarried and under the age of 21. Adopted children can also qualify.
- Parent of the US citizen – To be qualify as a parent, their child/petitioner must be US citizen at least 21 years of age. If the US citizen was adopted, the adoption must have been finalized before the child’s 16th birthday and if the US citizen is a stepchild, the current marriage must have taken place before the child’s 18th birthday.
Returning residents include immigrates who previously lived in the United States as permanent residents, and are currently returning to live in the United States after a temporary visit of a year or more in another country.
Limited Family Based
There are four major preferences under the limited family based category:
- Family First Preference – Unmarried children of US citizens over the age of 21 and their children. The only difference between a child in the limited category and a child in the unlimited category is the age.
- Second Family Preference – Spouses as well as unmarried children of a permanent residence can apply for a green card. The 2A Preference includes spouses or unmarried children under the age of 21 of permanent residents. The child must also be unmarried to qualify. The 2B Preference includes unmarried children of permanent residents who are 21 years old or older.
- Third Family Preference – Married children of US citizens. This category is open to sons and daughters of a US citizen, regardless if their age.
- Fourth Family Preference – Brothers and sisters of US citizens and must be 21 years of age or older. To qualify, the sibling must be children of the same parent.
While the above information outlines the categories of family based immigration for family members of both US citizens and permanent residents, it is important to consult with a professional immigration lawyer when applying for a green card. At KS Visa Law, we help with the entire visa process including all the necessary paperwork and petitions. Our expert attorneys will ensure you file under the correct category and will assist you in reuniting with your family. Contact us today at 858-874-0711 for a free in home consultation.