COMMON TYPES OF FAMILY IMMIGRATION PETITIONS
One of the most common avenues for obtaining permanent residence in the United States is sponsorship by a family member. Citizens, and in some cases green card holders, can petition for certain family members who are in or outside of the United States. Depending on the family relationship and the location where the application will be processed, the process and timeline for obtaining a green card for a family member varies widely. Following are some typical types of family based immigration petitions.
ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS
Adjustment of status is the process of obtaining permanent residence when the intending immigrant is in the United States. The most common form of adjustment of status for a family member is when a United States citizen petitions for an immediate relative. Immediate relative is a legal term under immigration law which means the parent, spouse, or unmarried child of a citizen. An adjustment of status petition is filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and is processed entirely within the United States, culminating in an interview at a USCIS field office.
Consular processing is the term for obtaining a visa for a family member abroad. Unlike adjustment of status, when a family based green card petition is filed for a family member overseas, there is a two step process. First, an I-130 petition is filed with USCIS. Once the I-130 has been approved, the case is transferred to the US Department of State which administers the visa process at consular offices throughout the world. Ultimately the intending immigrant will go to an interview at a US embassy abroad and obtain a visa to travel to the United States and obtain a green card.