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The process of obtaining a green card involves going through the consulate in order to obtain a visa to enter the United States. If a person is already in the United States, then we can do something called an adjustment of status. An adjustment of status is done from within the US and does not require an applicant to go through the consulate. That is the main difference between the process of obtaining a family-based visa and the process of obtaining a green card.

What Is Unlimited And Limited Family-Based Visas?

Unlimited versus limited is a distinction between two types of cases. There are some cases in which the person is related to or is an immediate relative of a United States citizen. If that is the case, then there will always be a visa immediately available for the person who is the immediate relative of the United States citizen.

If a person is not an immediate relative of a United States citizen, then they would have to enter into a preference-based system, which means that they would have to wait for a visa to become available. If the same United States citizen petitions for a sibling, then it would take about 12 years for a visa to become available. In some countries, such as Mexico and the Philippines, the wait can be as long as 20 years.

What Constitutes “Family” Under Family-Based Visas?

If you are a United States citizen, you can petition for your spouse, children, parents and siblings. If you are a legal permanent resident, you can only petition for your spouse and children.

What Petition Must Be Filed For A Family-Based Immigration Visa?

The most popular form to file is the I-130. This form indicates to immigration that a person qualifies for immigration benefits in the United States by virtue of being the relative of someone who is either a US resident or a US citizen.

If a person seeks an adjustment of their status, then we would also have to file the adjustment of status application, which is form I-485. In addition, we would have to file an affidavit of support (form I-864), which proves to the government that the person is not going to become a public charge to the United States. Other forms that need to be filed in the context of an adjustment of status include the application for employment authorization document and the application for a travel permit.

If a person is going to the consulate in their country to obtain the visa, then a DS-260 form is usually filed. Once their petition is approved, the DS-260 is the application by which we’ll request a visa for the person. Financial documents may also have to be filed in order to show that there is a qualifying relationship.

Who Is Eligible To Apply For A Family-Based Visa In The US?

Normally, United States citizens can petition for their spouses, children, parents and siblings. US residents can petition for their spouses and children. There is also a way in which adoptive children and fiancés can be petitioned for. In addition, if two people can show the United States government that they will be getting married within 90 days of the fiancé entering the United States, then that fiancé can be petitioned for by the US-based fiancé.

For more information on Family-Based Immigrant Visa Vs. Green Card, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (954) 306-6921 today.

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