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Immigration requirements as an immediate relative

South Carolina residents who are citizens of the United States may be interested in how an immediate relative can obtain a green card, also known as permanent residence. If the person is a spouse, an unmarried offspring under the age of 21 or the parent of a citizen over the age of 21, the U.S. citizen can petition the government to allow the relative to come and live permanently in the country.

If the relative is already in the U.S., there are two different processes for seeking residency. Both require completion of the Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative by the citizen and the Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status by the relative seeking a green card.

If the spouse, child or parent is not yet living in the United States, he or she can file for residency through consular processing. In this procedure, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services work in conjunction with the Department of State. An approved Form I-130 leads to a visa for travel to the U.S., and the immigrant becomes a permanent resident when he or she enters the country. Failure to file for an immigrant visa within one year of being notified by the State Department of eligibility could result in the termination of the petition.

The age and marital status of a child can affect the classification of someone who is seeking to enter the country under the family immigration laws. Many families seek the advice and guidance of an attorney to ensure that the correct forms are completed and filed accurately and in a timely fashion.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Green Card for an Immediate Relative of a U.S. Citizen", September 15, 2014

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