18 Nov Learn about the immigration family petitions
“Immediate Relatives” of a U.S. Citizen
“Immediate Relatives” refers to the parents, spouses and children (who are unmarried and under 21 years of age) of a U.S. citizen. Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen can immigrate to the United States without being subject to any numerical restrictions, unlike other close family members of U.S. citizens and/or permanent residents. Namely, they can apply for the permanent resident status without having to deal with any waiting time. Other close family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents are divided into several groups called “Preferences”. Each Preference is given a numerical quota per year to limit the number of immigrants admitted into the United States.
Other Close Family Members of a U.S. Citizen
Other close family members of a U.S. citizen can qualify to immigrate to the United States, but unlike the immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen, they are subject to a numerical limit of immigrant visas available to them each year. Close family members are divided into several groups called “Preferences”. The higher the Preference, the quicker the alien will be eligible to receive a green card.
-First preference: Unmarried Children over 21 year of age of U.S. Citizens
-Third preference: Married Children of U.S. Citizens
-Fourth preference: Brothers or Sisters of U.S. Citizens
Family Members of Permanent Residents
Spouses and unmarried children of a permanent resident can also apply for a green card. They are categorized as the “Second Preference” group of people who are eligible for immigration to the United States.
Battered Spouse, Children & Parents (VAWA)
The VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) gives abused spouses and children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who are living in the U.S. a procedural mechanism by which to “self-petition” for lawful permanent resident status. This mechanism acts as a substitute for the usual process, in which the immigrant must rely on participation by the U.S. spouse or parent. VAWA effectively cuts the abuser out of the process and limits his or her control over the immigrant.
Under VAWA, immigrant victims of domestic violence, child abuse, or elder abuse may “self-petition” for lawful permanent resident status without the cooperation of an abusive spouse, parent, or adult child. It allows the victim to confidentially file the self-petition and attain work authorization and lawful permanent resident status without separating from the abuser (if the victim decides so), thereby allowing the victim to leave the abuser after lawful permanent resident status has been obtained.