If you are an American citizen, you have the right to petition for the legal residence of an immediate family member. Immigration services also refers to this as an immediate relative. But what you may believe constitutes an immediate relative may be different from what the government believes. The following are three things to understand about this status.
You cannot petition for legal residence of your mother in-law or father in-law
This can become an issue when a United States citizen has a foreign-born spouse. If your spouse or finance has one or both parents living in a foreign country, you may want to bring his or her parents to live in America. However, this is not possible. If you are a United States citizen, you can only petition for your parents, but not your spouse's parents. Your spouse, however, can petition for his or her parents to become legal residents, but only after they become a United States citizen.
Getting green cards for children, brothers and sisters
For a U.S. Citizen, petitioning for a child to receive a green card is straightforward.
Children are defined as under the age of 21; however, a son or daughter child that is an adult, 21 years and older can still be sponsored under the family preference category. Unlike children and parents, siblings are not considered to be immediate relatives and fall under the category of family preference just as your adult children are. The main difference between this category and the immediate family category is that the law has limits on how many people a U.S. citizen can sponsor. But this is usually not a problem for most people. A immigration attorney can provide exact details on all of the rules regarding sponsorship under the immediate family category.
Restrictions on getting a green card for your fiance
As a United States citizen, you can marry a foreign citizen if you choose, but there are a few important restrictions. Your future spouse should be living outside the United States or inside the country legally. If he or she entered the country illegally, you will not be able to petition for a green card. If, however, they entered legally but overstayed their visa, it may be possible to petition for a green card. You will need the assistance of an immigration attorney for this legal circumstance.
For a U.S. citizen, getting a green card for a spouse or family member may seem easy, but there are many fine points to the laws, and there are often changes every year. The information above should at the least alert you to some of the complexities involved. Every U. S. citizen should consult with an immigration attorney, such as Tesoroni & Leroy, regarding green cards for family members.