Who Can Obtain Permanent Residence?
When it comes to U.S. immigration laws, only certain family members are eligible for a green card granting the bearer permanent residence in the country. Generally, this option is available to immediate family members that include a spouse, unmarried and minor children, parents of adult children, and the siblings of adult children.
- Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
- Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen
- Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen
- Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
- Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old
For the purposes of immigration, a minor child is anyone under the age of 21 years. Similarly, a legal adult, according to immigration law, is anyone 21 years old or older.
For a spouse, who is legally living in the United States, forms I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status) must be submitted simultaneously. In instances where the spouse is currently living outside of the United States, you need only submit the I-130 form. In this latter case, the form will then be sent to a consular for processing. Once the individual’s status has either been approved or declined, notification will be sent to that individual.
Similarly, a U.S. citizen can also petition for minor children and adult children to be granted permanent residency by filing the I-130 form. In addition to the form, you must also supply proof of your own citizenship. An immigration lawyer can help you assemble the appropriate documents and can ensure no errors appear on the necessary forms.
For siblings, you must be over 21 years of age and you must be able to provide documentation, such as birth certificates, that prove you and your sibling share at least one parent. Additionally, the I-130 form and proof of your own U.S. citizenship is required.
Bringing Parents into the United States for Permanent Residency
Petitioning the government for permanent residency for your parents is more complicated than it is for other immediate family members. It may be necessary to enlist the help of an immigration attorney in some instances just to ensure you have complied with each requirement.
For a mother living outside of the United States, you will need to complete the I-130 form, as with the other instances, but you will also be required to submit a copy of your birth certificate. The birth certificate must show your name and your mother’s name. Additional documentation may be required, such as Certificate of Naturalization if you were not born in the United States.
For a father living outside of the United States, the I-130 form must be accompanied by a birth certificate that shows your name and both parents’ names. Additionally, if you were not born in the United States, you must submit a copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship or your U.S. passport. Finally, you may need your immigration lawyer to help you obtain a copy of your parents’ civil marriage certificate, which must also be submitted.