Family-Based Green Card

Green Card for Family Immigrants

In a world that thrives on relationships, the Family Based Green Card stands as a beacon of hope, offering a pathway for families to build new beginnings on American soil. This powerful immigration avenue fosters the reunification of loved ones and paves the way for many opportunities in the United States.

When navigating the Family Based Green Card process, Bashyam Global LLP is here to guide you. Our experienced immigration attorneys specialize in helping families reunite and seize immigration opportunities. From personalized guidance to efficient application filing, we are dedicated to making your journey smooth and successful. Trust Bashyam Global LLP to be your reliable partner on the path to obtaining a Family Based Green Card, and contact us today.

a family holding an American flag after receiving green cards

What is the Family-Based Green Card?

The Family Based Green Card is a form of U.S. permanent residency for family members of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). This green card has many benefits, including the ability to live and work in the United States permanently, travel outside the United States without fearing losing one’s status as an LPR, and eventually become a U.S. Citizen if desired.

How Much Does It Cost To Obtain a Green Card?

The government filing fee for a family-based green card is $1760 for an applicant living in the United States or $1200 for an applicant living outside the United States. This does not include the typical cost of the required medical examination, which varies by provider.

Here is a breakdown of the costs involved:

Government filing fees: $1760 (USCIS Form I-130) or $1200 (Form I-130A)

Medical examination fees: $100 – $500

Affidavit of Support fees: $120

Attorney fees: Varies

The total cost of getting a family-based green card can vary depending on several factors, including the applicant’s country of origin, the type of family relationship, and the complexity of the case. However, the costs listed above are a good starting point for estimating the total cost of the process.

It is important to note that these are just the government filing fees and do not include the cost of other expenses, such as travel costs, translation costs, and document preparation costs. These additional expenses can add up, so it is important to budget accordingly.

If you are considering applying for a family-based green card, it is important to speak with an immigration attorney to get an accurate estimate of the total cost of the process. An attorney can also help you understand the eligibility requirements and the application process.

Who is Eligible for the Family-Based Green Card?

The Family Based Green Card is available to individuals related to a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) as a spouse, parent, child (unmarried and under 21 years of age), sibling, or grandparent. Individuals related through marriage, such as step-parents and step-children, may also qualify.

a family of immigrants arriving in the United States with luggage

Family Visa Categories

The Family Based Green Card is divided into several visa categories, each with unique eligibility and application requirements.

Note: Immediate relatives are eligible for immediate adjustment, whereas family preference cases require one to review the monthly visa bulletin for eligibility.

Immediate Relative Immigrant (IR) Visas

IR visas are available to spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, parents (if the petitioner is a U.S. citizen), and certain other family members of U.S. citizens.

IR-1: Spouses of U.S. citizens

IR-2: Unmarried children under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen

IR-3: Orphans adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen

IR-4: Orphans to be adopted in the United States by a U.S. citizen

IR-5: Parents of a U.S. citizen (if the petitioner is at least 21 years old)

Family Preference Immigrant (FP) Visas

FP visas are for immediate family members who do not qualify for an IR visa, including siblings of U.S. citizens, unmarried children over the age of 21, and married children of any age of U.S. citizens. There are several categories within Family Preference Visas:

Family First Preference (F1):  Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens

Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, Minor Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents

Family Third Preference (F3): Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens

Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and Sisters of U.S. Citizens

Required Documentation for Family-Based Green Card Applications

Applicants for the Family Based Green Card must submit a variety of documents, including proof of their relationship to the petitioner (such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or adoption decrees), proof of the petitioner’s U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status, financial documents such as bank statements and tax returns demonstrating that the petitioning family member has the means to be financially responsible for the beneficiary.

Medical Examinations

In addition to the documentation listed above, applicants for the Family-Based Green Card must also undergo a medical examination by an approved doctor as part of their application process. This medical examination aims to ensure that applicants are healthy and free from any communicable diseases that could be a danger to public health or safety.

Benefits of Obtaining a Family-Based Green Card

a group of immigrants with their hands over their hearts.

  1. Live and work in the United States while the green card is valid
  2. Enjoy the freedom to travel internationally while maintaining the status as a Lawful Permanent Resident, with certain conditions.
  3. Become a U.S. citizen if desired
  4. Family reunification with family members living in the United States
  5. Access to public benefits, such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other social services programs
  6. Protection from deportation or removal proceedings 
  7. Ability to bring certain family members to join them in the US through derivative visas

How to Apply for Family-Based Green Cards

File an Immigrant Visa Petition

Individuals interested in applying for a Family Based Green Card must file an immigrant visa petition (Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative) form with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition must include evidence to prove the claimed family relationship, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or other documents.

close-up of i-130 form. petition for alien relative, a necessary step in obtaining a family-based green card.

Apply for Permanent Residency

Once the USCIS approves the petition, the applicant may then apply for permanent residency either through adjustment of status if they are already in the United States or through consular processing if they are outside the United States. The National Visa Center is a great resource for those preparing an application.

Attend an Interview

Depending on the visa category, applicants may be required to attend an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country before receiving their green card.

Submit Form I-485

Applicants must also submit Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with USCIS. In addition to this form, applicants may be required to submit additional supporting documents such as proof of relationship, proof of current immigration status, and proof of identity.

Enjoy the Benefits of Your Green Card!

Once the application is approved, the applicant will be granted permanent resident status in the United States. As green card holders, they will be entitled to certain benefits such as travel privileges, work authorization, and access to government-subsidized health insurance.

What Are the Benefits of Having a Family Immigration Attorney?

Hiring a family immigration lawyer has numerous benefits, such as:

Avoiding expensive errors:

Even a minor mistake during your immigration procedure can lead to costly delays or the rejection of your application. Our attorneys can assist you in avoiding these errors and ensuring that your application is handled correctly from beginning to end.

Keeping you well-informed:

Immigration laws and regulations frequently change, making it difficult to stay up-to-date. Our lawyers can inform you about any changes impacting your case and guide you on the best course of action.

Streamlining the process:

Applying for family-based immigration can be a complex and time-consuming process. Our team can help you navigate the process more efficiently by ensuring that your application is properly submitted, all necessary documentation is included, and all deadlines are met.

Enhancing your chances of success:

The most significant benefit of hiring an immigration lawyer is that they can significantly increase your chances of success. With our knowledge, experience, and understanding of the laws and regulations pertaining to family-based immigration, we can assist you in presenting the strongest case possible and maximizing your chances of achieving the desired outcome.

Common Questions about the Family-Based Green Card Process

What is the average processing time for a family-based green card?

The processing time for an immigrant visa depends on several factors, such as the visa category you are applying under and the petitioner’s status. Generally speaking, an application can take six months to two years to be processed.

Are there any restrictions on who I can petition for?

Yes, certain restrictions apply depending on your relationship with the individual you are petitioning for. Generally speaking, you can only petition for a spouse, parent, or child.

Do I need an attorney to file my family-based green card application?

While hiring an attorney to submit your application is not required, it is highly recommended. An experienced immigration lawyer can help ensure that your application is properly submitted and that you are aware of any changes in the law that could affect your case. They can also provide valuable assistance in gathering and submitting necessary documents and advice on how to best present your case.

Can You Shorten Your Waiting Time?

Yes, certain measures can be taken to shorten your waiting time. For example, you can submit all required documents along with your application and check the status of your application regularly. Additionally, suppose you have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder). In that case, they may be able to sponsor you directly through a process called “Parole-in-Place.”

What is the National Visa Center for?

The National Visa Center (NVC) is an administrative office that assists the U.S. Department of State with processing immigrant visas. The NVC handles all incoming and outgoing documents associated with the family-based immigration process, including collecting required forms and documents from applicants, preparing visa applications for filing with USCIS, verifying and updating applicant information in the government’s records, and preparing documents for visa interviews.

Can I apply for a family-based green card while in the United States?

Yes, you can apply for a family-based green card while in the United States. This is known as “adjustment of status” and is typically done when an individual has entered the United States lawfully and wishes to remain here permanently.

Can I apply for a family-based green card if I am outside the United States?

Yes, you can apply for a family-based green card outside the United States. This process is referred to as “consular processing”. It involves submitting an application at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.

What happens if I get a divorce?

If you get a divorce, it will affect your application. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may not be eligible for a green card or may have to wait longer than originally anticipated. In such cases, an experienced immigration lawyer can help you navigate the process and maximize your chances of success.

a family of immigrants at a naturalization ceremony.

Bashyam Global LLP: Your Partner in Family Immigration

Navigating the family-based immigration process can be a difficult and time-consuming endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. At Bashyam Global LLP, our experienced immigration lawyers are here to guide you every step of the way. We understand that each family situation is unique, and we will work diligently to ensure your case is handled correctly and efficiently.

Whether you’re applying for a family-based green card, seeking to reunite with your family in the United States, or seeking employment-based immigration assistance, Bashyam Global LLP can help. Contact us online or call us at 919-833-0840 today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you.

Hear it from our clients

"We were looking for immigration lawyer recommendations and people were saying Bashyam Global was the place to go."

Jasper, Green Card through Marriage

"We are a success story from Bashyam Global. We first found out about this place through some friends on Facebook and reached out. Allison and Jessica took care of us from the beginning to the end, through all of the steps, through all of the questions, and all of the paperwork. Allison prepared us for the interview by offering a mock interview session with hypotheticals about how the interview could go, and just different things that we didn’t understand because we aren’t lawyers. They were very patient and they answered our questions in a timely fashion. Being a same-sex couple made us nervous and they helped us through that. Allison went to the interview with us to make sure no inappropriate/unfair questions were asked and she was re-assuring that things would be okay."

Jasper from USA

"I have been dealing with immigration stuff for a long time now and I have gone through different kind of visas and I have all these records. I was happy to have gone through Bashyam Global because I feel there would have definitely been some stuff that would have fallen through the cracks. They helped us streamline the process."

Janghoon Y. from South Korea

"I am a Guatemalan immigrant that has lived in the United States for 14 years, and have personally experienced various immigration processes and adjustments through different administrations. When the time came to submit an adjustment of status petition for my parents, I knew I had to contact a trustworthy attorney that was knowledgeable in immigration law and would be able to give me peace of mind, especially during these trying times we are living. For this reason, after doing my homework and looking at different options, I decided to consult Attorney Allison. From the first moment, she understood my language, my situation, and that of my parents. Without a doubt, I knew we were in good hands. Her professionalism and excellent legal team she leads demonstrated that I had selected the best option. Our immigration process ended with success and my obtained their permanent residence. We are happy and grateful to have had Attorney Allison during this important process."

"The attorneys at this firm are excellent in every single way. They are so great that even at the American Embassy in Honduras, they told us the same thing. The person who interviewed us said that he liked how neatly they had put together all the documents. His exact words were “congratulations on the attorney you hired. They did a wonderful job.” So if the consulate said so, we say it twice as much! They are such great attorneys!!"

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