Maybe you had excellent grades and were able to secure a student visa to enter the United States. Your excellent academic performance continued through college, and you eventually secured an employment arrangement. Now, you have a green card and are a permanent resident. You may also have entered the country through an asylum claim, a marriage or a work visa.
Now that you are a permanent resident, you may want to offer similar opportunities to your loved ones in your country of origin. If you have a green card, can you help family members enter the United States?
There are limited opportunities for permanent residents
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) oversees many visa programs to help bring certain immigrants to the country. Those with relationships to individuals already lawfully in the country may have unique immigration opportunities.
The family preference visa program is a perfect example. Both United States citizens and lawful permanent residents can help loved ones legally travel to the United States and secure their own green cards through this visa program. If you have a green card and are not a naturalized citizen, such opportunities typically only apply to your immediate family members.
Your spouse has the best opportunity and the highest level of preference under the family preference visa program. Your children could also potentially enter the United States by virtue of your green card. Your unmarried children under the age of 21 will have the highest preference consideration. However, there is also a lower preference category for unmarried children who are over 21.
Married children and more distant relatives like siblings can only benefit from your presence in the United States if you pursue naturalization.
There can be other ways to help as well
There are limitations on the number of family preference visas issued every year in certain categories, especially when it comes to green card holders and not citizens. You may need to apply several years in a row for your family members to secure a family preference visa. You may also want to use that time to look into other opportunities, like helping them apply to domestic colleges or looking into employment opportunities that could lead to a visa.
Learning more about the different family-based immigration opportunities can help those with loved ones still living in other countries.