Family based green cards are a well known means of entry and residence into the United States. However, they are often a lengthy process with many variables that must be considered as a means of US immigration. A few common factors that impact the family based green card timeline include:
- Country of residence
- Legal status of petitioning family member
- Foreign national relationship to petitioner
- If USCIS has issued an RFE (request for evidence)
A family based green card has different steps than other types of green cards. First, the required forms are different, and can include the following:
- File Form I-130 (“Petition for Alien Relative”), proving the family relationship
- File Form I-485 (“Application for Adjustment of Status”), if the beneficiary is in the United States
- File Form DS-260 (“Immigrant Visa Application”), if the beneficiary is outside the United States
Immigration processing times are always quite busy, but recent timelines have extended even longer due to COVID-19 delays. Some of the quickest familial relationships (about a year or slightly longer) include minors of US citizens, parents of US citizens, and widows of US citizens, along with spouses of US citizens. On the longer end of the still short timeline (about 2-3 years, typically) you’ll find spouses of green card holders and minors of green card holders. Much longer wait times (sometimes longer than 10 or even 20 years) exist for unmarried adult children of US citizens or green card holders, married adult children of US citizens, and siblings of US citizens.
There are limits on the number of people who can come to the United States every year in all of the family-based green card categories except the spouses, parents, and minor children of U.S. citizens. Everyone else has to wait in line for a green card to become available.
If you are a US resident or citizen looking to bring a family member here on a family based green card, contact our team of US immigration attorneys today.