My sister (20 yrs old), my mom, and I have been living in the States for about 13 years now. I became a Permanent Resident about two months ago. I am going to be married to my fiance (he's a US citizen) next year and will be taking my citizenship test as soon as I am able to in a couple years. Now the question is, once I become a citizen, will I be able to help my mom and sister get their green cards? They both hold F1 visas.
As a US citizen, you can sponsor your mother and sister for green cards. In your mother's case, the process takes less than one year. However, in your sister's case, the current waiting times range from 11 to 23 years.
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As mentioned in previous responses, a U.S. Citizen generally may petition for a parent and sibling to adjust status to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (to get a "Green Card"). The fact that a parent entered the U.S. lawfully and with inspection but then overstayed a visa will not stand in the way of adjustment of status, and there is no backlog for visas in this category. The same is not true for a sibling, however: not only must a sibling be in valid nonimmigrant status in the U.S., but also there is a very long backlog for visas in this category -- most likely 15+ years, during which time the sibling would NOT be entitled to remain in the U.S. Additionally, for an adult sibling who has long overstayed her visa, not only will it be necessary to seek "consular processing" abroad, rather than "adjustment of status" inside the U.S., but the sibling who overstayed a visa for more than a year may be subject to a very harsh 10-year bar to re-entering the U.S.
It would be wise to work with an immigration attorney who could learn all of the relevant circumstances and details and then be able to advise about immigration eligibilities, options and strategies.
[Note: Consistent with Avvo policy, this communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]
David N. Soloway
Frazier, Soloway, Poorak & Kennedy, P.C.
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Atlanta, Georgia 30345 www.fspklaw.com
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Once you're a us citizen, you can petition for your mom as an immediate relative and she can adjust status.
You sister, however, is in a different category (F4), which is very heavily backlogged (as indicated by my colleague). Moreover, because she is not an immediate relative (spouse, parent or child of a USC) and has accrued unlawful presence, she would not be able to adjust status in the us under your petition, but would have to leave the country to consular process. Leaving would trigger the unlawful presence bar for which a waiver showing that a qualified relative - a USC or permanent resident spouse or parent - would suffer extreme hardship. This is a very high bar.
Of course this information is based on current laws. Who knows what the future may bring so filing for your sister when you're eligible could open up some potential options should the law change in the future.
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