If you have a native-born or a naturalized U.S. citizen, and you are in another country, they can help you obtain U.S. lawful permanent residence (a green card). These immigrations, however, have their scope depending on how they got their naturalization in the first place.
If you started with a green card before becoming naturalized, you would know that your rights to migrate your family members immigrate were limited. For example, a green card holder can sponsor (file an I-130 petition) only his or her spouse and unmarried children. However, even with this, the procedure is not instantaneous.
But when you’re a citizen, the situation becomes better. You can now process for:
- family members, including your married partner and unmarried children, whom you might have already started the immigration process, and they will be able to migrate immediately
- other family members like your parents, siblings and married children which you can commence their processing right away.
Note that same-sex marriages are no issues with immigration laws; so far, the union is formal in the state or country where they are from.
Migration Application for Your Spouse and Children
As a legal naturalized U.S. citizen, your married partner and kids (younger than 21 years) are regarded as your immediate relatives. This translates to them applying for lawful permanent residency right away with no issues, no annual limits or delays.
Unfortunately, even immediate relatives must go through many application paperwork before they can get their green cards. There is no shortcut to avoid the paperwork of an average of 15 months. You simply cannot escape it. However, you can know the progress of their application and how it is going.
Another added benefit of being a U.S. citizen is that your children can become citizens immediately after becoming legal permanent residents. This works so long they were not up to 18 years when you got your naturalization in the U.S., and they live legally in your custody in the United States.
Migration Application for your other Family Members
When you are a U.S. citizen, it becomes easier to start processing for your family members besides your partner and children. This can include your parents, siblings and perhaps your children that are married too.
Your parents, however, are seen as your immediate relatives, so they are given some higher level of a priority compared to others. Therefore, they can apply straight away to the U.S.
If you have children already married, they will fall under the F3 category (third preference), while your siblings will be under the F4 category (fourth preference). Both are relatively low on the priority list and may likely be put on the waiting list for several years before becoming eligible to immigrate to the United States.
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