Terms you need to know in family-based immigration

The Freeman

Family based immigration is one of the ways in which an immigrant can obtain permanent residency in the United States. An immigrant having a valid legal status as a legal permanent resident is also commonly known as a greencard holder. In future columns, there would be certain words or phrases that I may mention and I want you all to know what I mean when you read those. Here are some terms I want you to be acquainted with:

1.  Beneficiary - the alien seeking permanent resident status who is related to the US citizen or LPR petitioner. May also include a self petitioner.

2. Petitioner - a family member who filed the petition who is either a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident or greencard holder.

3. Immediate relative - Certain immigrants who because of their close relationship to U.S. citizens are exempt from the numerical limitations imposed on immigration to the United States. Immediate relatives are: spouses of US citizens, children (under 21 years of age and unmarried) of US citizens, and parents of US citizens 21 years of age or older.

4. Alien - Any person not a citizen or national of the United States.

5. Child - Generally, an unmarried person under 21 years of age who is: a child born in wedlock; a stepchild, provided that the child was under 18 years of age at the time that the marriage creating the stepchild relationship occurred; a legitimated child, provided that the child was legitimated while in the legal custody of the legitimating parent; a child born out of wedlock, when a benefit is sought on the basis of its relationship with its mother, or to its father if the father has or had a bona fide relationship with the child; a child adopted while under 16 years of age who has resided since adoption in the legal custody of the adopting parents for at least 2 years; or an orphan, under 16 years of age, who has been adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen or has an immediate-relative visa petition submitted in his/her behalf and is coming to the United States for adoption by a U.S. citizen.

6.  Priority Date - the date that the petition or application was properly filed with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service.

7. Lawful Permanent Resident - Any person not a citizen of the United States who is residing the in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. Also known as "Permanent Resident Alien," "Resident Alien Permit Holder," and "Green Card Holder."

8.  Conditional Resident - Any alien granted permanent resident status on a conditional basis (e.g., a spouse of a U.S. citizen; an immigrant investor), who is required to petition for the removal of the set conditions before the second anniversary of the approval of his or her conditional residency status.

9. Naturalization - The conferring, by any means, of citizenship upon a person after birth.

10. Adjustment of Status -Procedure allowing certain aliens already in the United States to apply for immigrant status.

11. Consular processing - Procedure when USCIS works with the Department of State to issue a visa on an approved petition when a visa is available.

12. Visa - A U.S. visa allows the bearer to apply for entry to the U.S. in a certain classification (e.g. F1, F2A, F2B, F3, F4 visas )

13. Visa Bulletin - a monthly publication by the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Depart of State. It shows the limits on family and immigrant based immigration to the United States as set by Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

14. Preference System - a system used to categorize family based immigration depending on the relationship of petitioner and beneficiary and subject to numerical limitation. In the family sponsored preference system, there are four ( 4 ) specific categories:

F1 - Unmarried sons and daughters of US Citizens;

F2 - Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents. There are two sub classifications under this category:

F2A -  Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents

F2B - Unmarried Sons and Daughters ( 21 years of age or older ) of Permanent Residents

F3 - Married Sons and Daughters of US Citizens

F4 - Brothers and Sisters of Adult US Citizens

15. DHS - An abbreviation for the Department of Homeland Security where U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ( USCIS ) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ) are a part of.

These are some of the terms we will be using when we talk about family based immigration. In future columns you will read these terms as applied to actual cases. To know what these terms mean is important for us in order to have a clear understanding of the facts and the laws applied in those situations.

This column is not a substitute for professional legal advice obtained from a US licensed immigration attorney. The information contained herein does not constitute a warranty or guarantee or legal advice regarding a reader's specific immigration case. No attorney-client relationship is and shall be established with any reader.

For any questions, comments and observations, please contact Atty. Marco Tomakin at [email protected]














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