Immigration Procedures for Immediate Relatives and for Family Members are similar. The (big) difference is the waiting time.
The immigration procedure has two phases:
1. The I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative
- Your spouse, parent or child (over 21) or your family member must file this petition with USCIS.
IR’s can apply for the Immigrant Visa as soon as the petition is approved.
Family Preferences: after approval of the petition they must wait with their Visa Application until a visa becomes available.
2. The Visa Application
- You must submit an Immigrant Visa Application (Form DS-260).
The relative or family member sponsoring you must proof he/she has the financial means to do so and submit an Affidavit of Support.
- You must submit documentation, undergo a Medical Examination and appear for a Visa Interview in your home country. If you are approved you will be issued a visa.
- An Immigrant Visa is valid for six months after it is issued.You must travel to the US within that time to activate it. Inside the US the visa becomes a Green Card.
- An unmarried child/children under 21 years of age can immigrate with you. He/she must still be under 21 when his or her visa is issued.
A Green Card holder can apply for US citizenship after living in the US for five continuous years.