Not everyone will qualify for an immigrant visa to get their green card based on a family relationship. Some of the initial requirements that you should consider include:
- You must have a qualifying family relationship with a United States citizen or permanent resident.
- You must be “admissible” to the United States, or be eligible for a waiver.
Qualifying Family Relationships for Family Based Immigrant Visas
Not all family relationships will qualify for the immigrant visa process. The easiest way to understand what relationships qualify is to look at what family members a United States citizen can sponsor for an immigrant visa and what family members a permanent resident can sponsor for an immigrant visa.
United States citizens can sponsor their spouse, unmarried children under 21 years of age, married children, unmarried children 21 years of age or older, parents, brothers and sisters.
Permanent residents can sponsor their spouse, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and unmarried children 21 years of age or older.
What Does Inadmissible Mean? Will A Waiver Help?
Even if you have a qualifying family relationship, you won’t be able to get an immigrant visa if you are “inadmissible” to the United States. Being inadmissible means that there is some reason why you aren’t eligible to immigrate to the United States. Common reasons someone could be inadmissible include having unlawful presence in the United States, certain criminal convictions, and past immigration misrepresentations or fraud. There are many other grounds of inadmissibility. Determining when a person is inadmissible to the United States is one of the most complex areas of immigration law.
If you are inadmissible to the United States, you may be able to get an immigration waiver that would allow you to move forward with the immigration process. As with the grounds of inadmissibility, immigration waivers are among the most complex areas of immigration law. You should consult with an immigration lawyer if you think you may need a waiver in order to immigrate to the United States.
The above list does not include everything that needs to be considered before you apply for an immigrant visa. One of the benefits of working with an immigration lawyer is that the lawyer can help you determine whether you qualify for an immigrant visa or if there may be better options for you and your family. A lawyer can also help you determine if you are inadmissible or need an immigration waiver.