Relief act could “expedite” family petitions

Relief act could “expedite” family petitions

On October 16, 2019, a bill (or proposal) was introduced in the Senate called the “Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employees and Families Act,” or RELIEF Act (SB 2603). If it is enacted (or becomes law), it could cut the waiting time for family and employment petitions to five years. This could include brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (F-4) and married children (F-3), where right now the waiting time could be up to 30 years!

This bill would also classify spouses and minor children of green card holders as “immediate relatives,” such that they would be immediately eligible for green cards, just like the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens.

The RELIEF Act would increase the number of green cards available so as to clear out the backlog.  Some of the highlights of the RELIEF Act include:

  • Eliminating family and employment green card backlog over the next five years, based on the dates the petitions or applications were filed. This could mean that if you were petitioned by a sibling or as a married child, you could be eligible for a green card in about five years!
  • Classifying spouses and children of green card holders (F-2A) as “immediate relatives,” meaning they would be immediately eligible for green cards, just like the spouses and children of U.S. citizens.
  • Providing additional “age out” protection for children who qualify for green card status based on a parent’s immigration petition.

We hope the RELIEF Act will pass in Congress and be signed by the president. It is not yet law. However, in the meantime, people may want to consider filing family petitions now, such as a petition of a sibling or for married children, if they have not already done so. This is because even though the waiting time is up to 30 years, if the RELIEF Act becomes law, the waiting time could be reduced to about five years.

You may want to consult with an attorney to evaluate your immigration situation, and how this proposal could possibly help you and your family if it finally becomes law. This is great news!

 

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