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New York Immigration Attorney

Green Cards Based on Relatives

General Information on Immediate Relatives:
A US Citizen may file a green card application on behalf of an “Immediate Relative” without having to wait in order to get immigration benefits. This may be done by applying for an Immigrant Visa (if the relative is outside the US) OR for an Adjustment of Status (if the relative is in the US on another Status). When you apply for a green card as an Immediate Relative of a US Citizen you may request a temporary work authorization. You must not leave the US until your green card application is approved. If you do leave, your application may be denied and you will have to reapply. There are some exceptions to this rule and you may get a special permission to leave the US for a short period of time in cases of emergency. Except for marriage cases, an Immediate Relative is not normally required to attend a personal interview before his application is approved.

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides that the following people are considered “Immediate Relative”:

1. Spouse of a US Citizen (see Marriage to a US Citizen).

2. Unmarried children under 21 who have at least one US Citizen Parent.

3. Parents of US Citizen if the child is over 21.

General Information on Preference Relatives:
A US Citizen or Permanent Resident may file a green card application on behalf of a “Preference Relative”. As opposed to an “Immediate Relative”, a Preference Relative has to wait in line for his green card to become available. This is because there is a limit on the number of green cards that may be issued every year in the Preference Relative category. The Visa Bulletin indicates the waiting period for the Preference Relative Category and it is updated by the US Department of States on a monthly basis.

Once the waiting period is completed your relative, your green card application may be filed. This may be done by applying for an Immigrant Visa (if you are outside the US) OR for an Adjustment of Status (if you are in the US in another Status). When you apply for a green card, you may request a temporary work authorization. You must not leave the US until your green card application is approved. If you do leave your application may be denied and you will have to reapply. There are some exceptions to this rule and you may get a special permission to leave the US for a short period of time in cases of emergency. Except for marriage cases, an Immediate or Preference Relative does not normally required to attend a personal interview before his application is approved.

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides that the following people are considered “Preference Relative”:

1. First Preference: Unmarried children over 21 of a US Citizen.

2. Second Preference:

3. Spouse and Children under 21 of a Permanent Resident.

4. Unmarried children over 21 of a Permanent Resident.

5. Third Preference: Married children of a US Citizen.

6. Forth Preference: Brothers and Sisters of adult US Citizens.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long it takes for the USCIS to approve my case?
The USCIS will normally approve your case within fifteen months.

Do I have to come to your office in order to file the application?
NO. Almost every application for a green card does not require a personal meeting in our office and can be made through mail, fax or email correspondence.

How do I start a case?
To start a case you will have to provide us with several documents regarding you and your US Citizen spouse who wishes to sponsor you for the Green Card. We charge $275.00 to evaluate a case and to provide you with our detailed list of documents and a more detailed explanation of the process. The payment is non-refundable but will be credited toward the additional legal fees expected to be paid for this service.

*Note that the above prices are subject to change at any time and without further notice. Prices do not include applications for dependents, dealing with Notice of Actions, out of pocket expenses and any unexpected circumstances we may have to address.

**This is general information and is NOT intended to provide legal advice.

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