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The requirements for a family-based green card

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The requirements for a family-based green card vary depending on the specific relationship and category. Here are the general requirements:

Eligible Relationships: The applicant must have a qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, such as being a spouse, child, parent, or sibling.

Valid US Address: The person in the U.S. sponsoring the green card application must have a valid U.S. address and status as a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident.

No Criminal Record: Applicants must have no criminal records.

Proof of Relationship: Applicants must provide evidence of their family relationship with the sponsoring individual, such as a valid marriage certificate for spouses or a birth certificate for children.

Financial Requirement: The sponsor must meet income requirements to support the applicant financially.

Application Process: The application process typically involves filing Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), providing supporting documents, attending biometrics appointments, and possibly an interview.

These requirements ensure that applicants have genuine family relationships with U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and meet the necessary criteria to qualify for a family-based green card.

family-based green card

The difference between a marriage-based green card and a family-based green card

The difference between a marriage-based green card and a family-based green card lies in the specific relationships that qualify for each type of green card:

Marriage-Based Green Card:

  • A marriage-based green card is available to spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
  • The marriage must be legally valid and based on a genuine, bona fide relationship.
  • The spouse seeking the green card is called the beneficiary, while the sponsoring spouse is called the petitioner.
  • The marriage must last at least two years after obtaining the green card for the beneficiary to maintain permanent resident status.
  • Conditional green cards are issued initially, requiring the couple to remain married for at least two years before removing the conditions on the permanent resident status.

Family-Based Green Card:

  • Family-based green cards are available for various family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, including spouses, children, parents, and siblings.
  • The eligibility for a family-based green card depends on the specific family relationship and preference category.
  • Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouses, minor children, and parents) have no annual limit on visa numbers (unlimited), allowing them to enter the U.S. immediately upon approval.
  • Other family members fall into preference categories with an annual cap on visa numbers (limited), leading to waiting times until a visa number becomes available.

In summary, while a marriage-based green card is specifically for spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, a family-based green card encompasses a broader range of family relationships with varying eligibility criteria and waiting times based on preference categories.

Income requirement for a family-based green card

The income requirement for a family-based green card varies based on the sponsor’s household size and location. Here are some key points that are considered:

1.  The most common minimum annual income required to sponsor a spouse or family member for a green card is $25,550 for sponsors in the 48 contiguous states, D.C., and U.S. territories.

2.  The sponsor must have an annual income of at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for their household size, with the income being the same figure reported on their most recent U.S. federal income tax return.

3.  Assets can also be used to meet the income requirements, including cash, stocks, bonds, and property that are readily convertible to cash within one year without significant financial loss.

4.  If the sponsoring spouse is on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, the income requirement is equal to 100% of the U.S. poverty level for the household size.

5.  The income requirements vary for residents of Alaska and Hawaii, with higher thresholds compared to the 48 contiguous states.

Overall, meeting the income requirement is crucial for sponsoring a family member for a green card, and it involves demonstrating financial stability through income or assets that meet or exceed the specified thresholds based on household size and location.

Continue reading: What is the Green Card affidavit of support and why is it required

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