U.S. citizens and lawful residents who can petition for foreign relatives should do so very soon, because Congress might restrict family-based immigration.
Washington, D.C., politicians are talking a lot about changing immigration law. Reducing the categories of family-based visas – ending “chain migration,” as restrictionists call it – is one change that could pass in Congress. This change could happen as a trade-off for protecting immigrants who were eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and maybe those who have had Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in past years.
If Congress did reduce family visas, people currently in line for such visas would probably remain in line, but no new petitions would be allowed in the newly eliminated categories.
Because of this, U.S. citizens and lawful residents who can sponsor someone for a green card would be wise to file a petition now – before time runs out.
Currently, if you are a U.S. citizen, you may sponsor: (1) your spouse, (2) your parents, (3) your children of any age or marital status (including some adopted and step-children) and (4) your brothers and sisters. If you are a lawful resident, you may sponsor: (1) your spouse and (2) your unmarried children of any age.
Most of the proposed changes eliminate eligibility for parents, adult children, and siblings of U.S. citizens and for adult children of lawful residents. If you have relatives in these categories whom you want to sponsor, contact a lawyer today and file a petition.
Petitioning for a foreign relative is the first step towards a green card. The U.S. citizen or lawful resident (the “petitioner”) files forms with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), with documents supporting the application and a filing fee. USCIS typically approves the petition in months to years, depending on how many applications are in line for that particular category.
Still, having the petition filed before Congress changes the law puts your relative in line.
It can take months to many years between filing a petition and the alien relative getting a green card; the complexity of the case and the backlog of similar cases will make all the difference.
Linnartz Immigration Law Office has many years of experience successfully getting people through the family immigration process. If you have a need, contact us today.