The past several years have been a time of uncertainty for many immigrants living in North Carolina. Some have faced increased discrimination in retail establishments and in the workplace, and others have worried about the possibility of bringing relatives who remain in their home countries to live with them in the United States. Applying for a green card to allow a relative to become a permanent resident may not be as difficult as you may have imagined when you take the right legal steps to secure one.
U.S. citizens can petition for various family members
The current immigration law allows you to petition for a green card or a visa to allow many different relatives to join you here in the United States as residents. These include:
• Your spouse
• Unmarried children under age 21
• Sons and daughters who are married or over age 21
• Parents and siblings if you are over age 21
• Your fiance
• Your fiance’s unmarried children under age 21
If you are petitioning for a visa, the type of visa and the length of time that it takes for your relative to become eligible for one depends on the preference category into which your relatives fall. Immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens, like your spouse, children or parents, have the shortest wait time. If you are not a citizen but have a green card, you can still apply to have your relatives join you here, but the process will take longer.
You may also be confused about how you can get your relatives into the United States if you were granted status as a refugee or an asylum seeker. You could do so if you were granted one of these statuses within the past two years.
Navigating the immigration process
Applying for a green card, visa, refugee or asylum status can be confusing because you have to fill out different forms for each. In addition, if you are a member of the military, the rules may be different. Working with an attorney who is sympathetic to your cause and who is experienced in immigration law can help make the process easier and maybe even shorter.