Immigration laws can be confusing for South Carolina residents. Many who have immigrated to the United States may not understand the laws, especially when it comes to their own family. They might think that their spouses, children or parents have to wait in line for a visa before coming to this country legally. However, in order to encourage family unity, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are actually given priority when it comes to obtaining green cards.
Some family members can apply for a green card so they can immigrate to the U.S. By filling out the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status form, immediate relatives can apply for permanent residency.
Who is eligible? A citizen's spouse, parent (if the person is 21 years of age or older) or child (must be younger than 21 years old and unmarried) can live in America legally. Once the child is married or older than 21, there will no longer be a visa available.
In order to receive the visa while living in a foreign country, you must go through consular processing. This involves a Form I-130 petition and coordination between several agencies. You will then be issued a visa that allows you to travel to the U.S. and become a permanent citizen when you cross the border. However, you must meet specific deadlines or risk losing your visa.
There are an infinite number of visas available for this purpose, so U.S. citizens who want to reunite with their families should take the steps to do so while their family members are eligible. However, it is important to follow the rules and ensure that the proper forms are filled out in order to avoid delays.
Source: ExpatForum, "US clarifies how family members can get green cards for residency", June 20, 2014