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Family Based Adjustment

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How do I sponsor a family member for a green card? Hi. I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. We are working on a new project and that project is all about green cards. And we're taking a lot of the content from these YouTube videos that we've done and turning them into a free book for people who are thinking about getting a green card. And we have a wonderful intern, her name is Annie. She goes to the Miami University in Ohio, and she told us that we're missing a little bit of content on family based green cards, family based adjustment, and family based immigrant visa. So she asked me to shoot some new videos about the adjustment of status process for a family member of a US citizen and for a overseas immigrant visa petition for a family member.

So this is the first of two videos that we're going to do. Today's video is about what you need to do to get a green card for a family member. So let's make sure we're all on the same page. First of all, in order to sponsor a family member for a green card that is not your spouse or your child, who's under the age of 21, the petitioner has to be a US citizen. So conveying immigration benefits to a family member is not possible if you are a lawful permanent resident. Lawful permanent residents only have the right to sponsor their spouse and their child under the age of 21. So for the most part, you're going to have to be a US citizen. All right. So who can a US citizen sponsor? Well, we all know that immediate relatives of US citizens are the parents of US citizens, the spouse of US citizens and the underage, the under 21 year old age children of US citizens.

So there are an unlimited number of those visas available. So that means that all they have to do is go through the immigration process. So the US citizen would file an I-130 petition for an alien relative. The foreign national, the parent, or the spouse, or the child would file an I-130A and then they would file for adjustment of status through the I-45. And then they would apply for a temporary work card, which is an I-765 and then an I-131, which is the travel documents. So those are pretty much the same as the spouse process. So when you want to get a green card for your parents or your children or your spouse, the process is relatively the same. Now, when you're sponsoring your parents, you're going to have to prove up that relationship. So in the old days, all it took was a birth certificate, and now it still takes a birth certificate, but you're going to need extra evidence.

So you're going to need pictures of you as a child, school record, sort of going back a little bit, you want to make sure that you can prove up the relationship. You're going to want to show pictures of you and your parents. You don't have to go overboard on these. It's not that critical, still the birth certificate should be enough, especially if it's a birth certificate that was created at the time that the US citizen was born. So one thing that we've seen an uptick in is USCIS complaining about, or being dissatisfied with birth certificates that were generated when everybody was an adult. Now, some people come from countries where birth are not recorded. If you have questions about what you need to get for a birth certificate, you should go and Google visa reciprocity table, and then put in your country and then look at the birth certificate lists. So there'll be a list of all these different kinds of documents, and you can get the right information on what birth certificate you need.

All right. So that's parents, a parent application would be filed. The parents would get receipts. A couple of weeks later, they would get fingerprint notices. If they're over the age, I think, of 80, they don't have to get fingerprinted. But if they're under the age of 80, they have to get fingerprinted. A background check is then conducted. And the last piece is the interview. Now, in a fair chunk of parent cases, the parents are not going to get fingerprinted, but sometimes the parents are not going to get interviewed. Sometimes they still do. And with the Trump administration, we've seen an uptick in the number of those, but we're still getting cases approved for green cards for the parents of US citizens.

And typically, these kinds of cases arise when a foreign national parent comes to visit the US citizen and the US citizen and the parent decide that they want to stay and adjust their status. So sometimes you have to be careful about immigrant intent, and we have other videos about that. So if you have questions about immigrant intent, you should check that out on our YouTube channel. Okay. Now I just want to go over quickly the other classifications of individuals that a US citizen can sponsor. So above and beyond the underage children and spouse and parents of US citizen, a US citizen can also sponsor other types of people. They can sponsor their brothers or their sisters. Now this is going to be done overseas and we'll talk about that in tomorrow's video for the most part and I'll explain why tomorrow.

And they can also sponsor their over 21 year old children. So that's another process. So maybe we'll make three videos. I should probably do one for the parents of US citizens who are abroad, and then for the brothers and sisters of US citizens, but I can probably fold that all into tomorrow's video so I probably just do two. Anyway, so those are the categories of people that a US citizen can sponsor. Green card holders can't sponsor their parents. They have to become a citizen first. And for the most part, a brother or sister of a US citizen are not going to be able to sponsor their... Well, they can sponsor their brother or sister, but the problem is that doesn't give their brother and sister any status to stay in the United States so their brother or sister are going to have to do it from overseas and that's what we're going to talk about tomorrow.

Now, I will tell you one crazy story that I had this year. It blew my mind and I was so excited. I really wanted to work on this case. So I had a case or a consult with a woman who had been a US citizen for a long time, 20 years and 15 years ago, she had filed an I-130 petition for her brother. And her brother had stayed in the United States all that time on F-1s and then OPT, and then an H-1B visa. So they came as a student, they got OPT, and then they changed to an H-1B. Now, I never thought I would come across this, but what this meant was, is that the brother could adjust the status inside the United States, that hardly ever happens just because of the backlog that we'll talk about in tomorrow's video, but it allowed this person to adjust status in the United States because they had maintained their status for all those 14 years of waiting and their visa number became current, and it was time to adjust. So at that point, they would then file an I-45 and adjust their status.

So hopefully, this video makes sense. Hopefully, Annie's going to be able to get out of it the content that she needs and we'll see tomorrow where we'll talk about getting a green card for your parents or family members and doing it at the consulate overseas. So if you have questions about this, give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. And if you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and make sure that you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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