Can I file a family and employment petition at the same time?

In my column This week's Consulta Migratoria® answers the question of a reader who wishes to obtain permanent residency through a family or work-based petition.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on the immigration history of each person. Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before beginning any process.

This is the column:

My U.S. citizen brother is asking me. I do not currently live in the United States. I understand that it would take approximately 10 years for me to get permanent residency. I was told that I can apply for residency through a job. If I am petitioned by a company, is my brother's petition cancelled? How would I get the residency faster? - Nestor C.

Nestor, it is possible to have two different applications for permanent residency running simultaneously. But when submitting them, make sure that you meet all the requirements of each one. Otherwise, it would be a waste of time and money to do an immigration proceeding for which you do not qualify.

If an employer sponsors you for permanent residence, the application your brother filed will not be cancelled. Each application will be processed independently, as they are two separate proceedings, although they have the same purpose - that you can legally live and work in the U.S. as a permanent resident.

You do not give enough information to give you a more concrete answer about your case. For example, you do not tell me your country of origin and how long ago your brother filed your family petition. This information may affect the processing time or availability of visas.

Since you say you have only 10 years to go, I must assume that your brother filed that application some time ago, since it is currently taking between 13 and 19 years to obtain permanent residency through a citizen sibling.

Based on this data and reviewing the Visa Bulletin from the April 2016 U.S. Department of State, it would be faster to obtain permanent residency through work.

There are five categories of employment-based visas for permanent residence. Four of them currently have visas available immediately. This means that you could immigrate to the United States in less than two years if you are sponsored by an employer.

You and the company that would be willing to file an employment petition on your behalf would need to be evaluated to determine your legal options.

You should note that processing times and visa availability vary depending on the number of people applying for immigration benefits, the visa limit per country, and how many visas are allocated to the preference category for which you would qualify.

You will need to consult with an immigration attorney or federally accredited representative to analyze your case and see what is the best legal option for you.