The Process of Obtaining Green Cards for Family Members

First thing first, determining which family members you can petition for is of upmost importance. In this matter, depending on how your family member is related determines whether they will be able to come to the U.S. It is a myth that just because you are now a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you can bring your entire immediate and extended family into the U.S.

Generally, you will have the right to petition or sponsor an immediate relative to come to the U.S. In order to petition for parents, you must be a U.S. citizen who is 21 or older. The age requirement lowers to 18 if you are a U.S. citizen who seeks to petition for your spouse. Another family member a U.S. citizen at least the age of 18 may petition for is any minor, unmarried child.  A permanent resident may petition for his or her spouse as well. Extended family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins are not included on the list of family members you are able to sponsor.

The next question most individuals have related to this topic is the time frame their relatives must wait before they are able to come to the United States. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens usually have preference in the application process. The wait period for an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen depends on how long it takes USCIS and the State Department to process the application. Spouses or children of permanent residents are considered second preference. The average wait is two years for spouses and for minor children. However, that time frame may increase depending on the age of the child. Note that these waiting periods are not set in stone and are subject to change.

To get the ball rolling, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident must make the first attempt to submit the sponsorship application. Keep in mind that before your family member can come to the U.S., every document within the application must be submitted and approved. The truth of submitting sponsorship applications is usually more complex than most individuals imagine. However, the well-seasoned Immigration attorneys at Theus Law Offices can help you submit a successful application.

Theus Law Offices specializes in a complete range of estate planning and elder law services, including wills, trusts, probate, successions, estate administration and probate litigation. If you need a Louisiana wills and trusts lawyer or succession attorney in Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Shreveport, Monroe, or elsewhere in Central Louisiana, let our certified estate planning specialist and probate lawyers help you.