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Immigration Information for Spouses or Children of Permanent Residents

Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are foreign nationals who have received U.S. green cards.  Foreign nationals can obtain green card through several different avenues such as employment-based immigration sponsorship, family-based immigration sponsorship, investment into the U.S., etc.  With a green card, the LPR enjoys the unrestricted right to live, work, and travel in and out of the U.S. without the need for obtaining a special visa.
LPRs also enjoy the right to sponsor certain types of family members for their own green cards.  Specifically, LPRs can sponsor their spouses, their minor children (children who are both unmarried and under the age of 21), and their unmarried children who are over the age of 21.

Importantly, “child” can also include a step-child (as long as the marriage that created the step-child/step-parent relationship occurred before the child turned 18) and an adopted child (as long as the child was adopted before he/she turned 16, has lived with the adoptive parent for two years, and has been in the legal custody of the adoptive parent for two years).

Unfortunately, family members of LPRs are not immediately eligible for their green cards.  Instead, they often have to wait in a very long line before they receive the green card.  In contrast, certain types of relatives of U.S. citizens are immediately eligible for green cards.  This provision of immigration law can be very beneficial to an LPR’s relative.  If the LPR becomes a U.S. citizen while the family member is waiting for the green card, the family member may be able to convert his/her immigration petition to an “immediate relative” petition and become eligible for the green card much, much faster.

Additionally, it should also be highlighted that if an LPR’s child marries, the child is no longer eligible for family-based immigration benefits sponsored through the LPR (but the child may now be eligible for different benefits if the child married a U.S. citizen).

There are two procedures available for LPRs to sponsor their relatives.  The first procedure, called concurrent filing or Adjustment of Status (AOS), is only available when the family member is in the U.S. and has a current priority date.  To complete this procedure, the LPR files the Form I-130 Petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and, at the same time, the relative files the I-485 Application with USCIS as well.  (If the relative can stay in the U.S. while waiting for the priority date to become current, the LPR can first file the I-130 Petition and then later the relative can file the I-485 Application.

The second procedure is called consular processing.  Similar to concurrent filing, the LPR files the I-130 Petition with USCIS.  Once USCIS approves the petition and the family member’s priority date becomes current, the family member goes to the U.S. consulate and receives an immigrant visa to use to come to the United States.  Once the relative enters the U.S., USCIS mails the green card to the relative.

At the Callan Law Firm, P.C., our highly knowledgeable attorneys are experienced in successfully completing both AOS and consular processing applications for LPRs and their families.  Contact our office today to begin your relative’s journey to the United States!