A Green Card holder or permanent resident has the right to live and work permanently in the United States. Green Cards are frequently obtained through family members, allowing relatives to become reunited and prosper in the United States. Which relatives can sponsor you is dependent on the sponsor’s own immigration status.
United States Citizens: Immediate Relatives
U.S. citizens are able to petition for certain immediate relatives to join them and live permanently in the United States. These relatives include the U.S. citizen’s spouse, unmarried child under the age of 21, and parent if the citizen is over the age of 21. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are deemed to always have an immigrant visa available to them.
United States Citizens: Other Qualified Relatives
A U.S. citizen can petition for other qualified relatives via a family preference category – each category has yearly caps on the number of visas available to immigrants within each category. These qualified relatives include sons and daughters of U.S. citizens over the age of 21, and parents, brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens if the U.S. citizen is over the age of 21. Spouses and minor children of qualified relatives can apply for immigrant visas when the qualified relative is able to apply for a green card.
Green Card holders can petition for their spouse and unmarried children regardless of age, but cannot sponsor married children.
Once the family petition is approved and a visa becomes available to the appropriate relative, a Green Card can be issued in two ways depending on whether the individual is inside or outside the United States. If inside the United States, the family member will file for Adjustment of Status. If outside the United States, the family member will go through consular processing.
Filing the I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is the first step in unifying your family in the United States. Contact the immigration attorneys at Fears | Nachawati for a consultation to move forward with this process.