Green Card for Unmarried Children or Spouse

Table of Contents

1. What Is a Green Card for Unmarried Children?

Permanent residents have the option to bring their family, specifically their unmarried children and/or spouse, to the United States and apply for a green card for them under the second preference category (F2A and F2B). 

This green card category is suitable for the following:

  • Foreign individuals who are married to permanent residents (green card holders)
  • Unmarried children (must be below 21 years of age) of permanent residents to fall under the F2A category.
  • Unmarried children, who are 21 years of age and beyond, of permanent residents fall under the F2B category. 
  • Unmarried stepchildren of lawful permanent residents, provided they meet certain conditions

The permanent resident is responsible for sponsoring the green card application of their spouse or unmarried children and also submitting an Affidavit of Support. Furthermore, the permanent resident should meet the following criteria:

  • They must be at least 18 years old
  • They must be a lawful permanent resident of the US with a registered US address

The applicant (spouse or child) is required to produce documentation that supports their relationship with their US-based sponsor (legal permanent resident). They must also not be classified as ineligible or inadmissible. Grounds for inadmissibility include criminal convictions, fraud or misrepresentation, or health and medical reasons, among other factors.

Once the permanent resident’s spouse or child secures receives their Green Card based on the F2A or F2B category, they can live and work in the US, apply for a Social Security number, and enroll in any school.

2. Applying for a Green Card for an Unmarried Child

The requirements for bringing an unmarried child to the United States can vary based on the petitioner’s based on whether the petitioner is the mother, father or stepparent. In all cases, for parties who have had their names legally changed, or if their name differs from what is written on their birth certificate, they must be able to submit evidence of the name change.

After the I-130 petition is filed, the petitioner will be notified by the USCIS if their Petition for Alien Relative (I-130) is approved or denied. For approved petitions, the petitioner’s child (if abroad) will be notified by the Department of State when their priority date is current. For children residing outside the US, they will have to submit their immigrant visa application and fees online and then go to the nearest US Consulate to finish their visa processing, and the petitioner would have to submit fees and the Affidavit of Support online. Children who are residing in the U.S. on a different status may be eligible to file for Adjustment of Status when their priority date is current.

For denied petitions, the petitioner will receive a denial letter with details on how, when, and where they can appeal the case. 

3. Applying for a Green Card for Spouse of Permanent Residents

Just as in the case of a child, after the I-130 petition is filed, the petitioner will be notified by the USCIS if their Petition for Alien Relative (I-130) is approved or denied. For approved petitions, the petitioner’s spouse (if abroad) will be notified by the Department of State when their priority date is current. For spouses residing outside the US, they will have to submit their immigrant visa application and fees online and then go to the nearest US Consulate to finish their visa processing, and the petitioner would have to submit fees and the Affidavit of Support online. Spouses who are residing in the U.S. on a different status may be eligible to file for Adjustment of Status when their priority date is current. It should be noted that U.S. immigration laws do not sponsoring multiple spouses in a polygamous marriage situation.

For denied petitions, the petitioner will receive a denial letter with details on how, when, and where they can appeal the case. 

The steps for bringing the unmarried child or spouse of a Green Card holder are as follows:

  • The petitioner must file a Form I-130
  • If the petition is approved by the USCIS, there is a waiting period for the priority date to become current, which can be checked on the Visa Bulletin which is published by the U.S. Department of State each month
  • When the priority date is current, for unmarried child or spouses who have chosen to process their case abroad on the I-130, the case will be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC), and the petitioner and beneficiary would be notified by NVC to submit required documentation, fees and the affidavit of support by the petitioner, and then the case would be transferred to the selected U.S. Consulate for an interview, and if successful, then the issuance of the immigrant visa, which would enable the beneficiary to come to the U.S. as an immigrant
  • For unmarried child or spouses who have chosen to process their case in U.S., they would be eligible to file for Adjustment of Status, and they would receive a biometrics appointment in the U.S., they would also be eligible to receive an Employment Authorization Document and Advance Parole for foreign travel. The applicant would then be interviewed by USICS within the U.S., and if successful the Green Card would then be issued.

4. How Long Does It Take to Process an F2A or F2B Process?

The processing time varies depending on the number of applicants and the current workload of the government agency in charge of the applications. In general, it may take a year or more to process an application. However, even after the approval the I-130, the priority date may not be current, and there may be a significant wait period, this is due to immigration limitation set in the law, permitting only certain number of green card to be issued in these categories each year.

Worried about how you can get a green card for a child? Or perhaps you’ve been asking yourself, “How do I apply for a green card for my spouse?” 

Whether you’re applying for a green card for your child or spouse, it’s always a good idea to consult with experienced immigration lawyers. At Ramchand & Raval, our experienced immigration lawyers can help you prepare and file a green card petition for your family. We will work with you every step of the way to ensure that you file your application properly and on time. 

Take advantage of our firm’s services. Schedule your consultation today.

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