How do I file for my relative so they can become a permanent resident?

by Blake P. Somers, Lawyer Referral Service Panelist 

In general, this process proceeds as follows: the person who is already a permanent resident or a citizen of the United States (“the Petitioner”) will file a form called an I-130 Petition for their relative(s).   Once this petition is approved, it will eventually give the “beneficiary” (the person who is not yet a permanent resident of the United States) an “immediately available immigrant visa number.”

Once this number has become available, the person has generally become eligible to become a permanent resident of the United States. This process is either called “Consular Processing” if it is done outside of the United States, or if it’s done in the inside of the United States it is called “adjustment of status.” During this application, the person’s qualifications are reviewed and, if they are able to become a permanent resident, they would be adjusted to that status. Once they become permanent residents, they will be issued a “green card,” which proves their status as a permanent resident in the United States.

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