Family-based Green Card
Green card for Immediate Relative of a US Citizen (IR)
To promote family unity, immigration law allows U.S. citizens to petition for certain qualified relatives to come and live permanently in the United States. Eligible immediate relatives include the U.S. citizen’s:
- Unmarried child under the age of 21
- Parent (if the U.S. citizen is over the age of 21)
Immediate relatives have special immigration priority and do not have to wait in line for a visa number to become available for them to immigrate because there are an unlimited number of visas for their particular categories.
Green card for Other Family Members of a US citizen (F1, F3, F4)
If the family member of the U.S. citizen is not an immediate relative, then the U.S. citizen may still be able to sponsor them via what is called a “family preference category.” Eligible relatives include:
- F1- Unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21
- F3- Married child(ren) of any age
- F4- Brothers and sisters (if the U.S. citizen petitioner is over the age of 21)
Congress has limited the number of relatives who may immigrate under these categories each year so there is usually a waiting period before an immigrant visa number becomes available. Applicants are typically given a priority date upon submission of their petitions and they wait until said priority date becomes current before moving forward with their application.
Green card for a Family Member of a Lawful Permanent Resident (F2A and F2B)
A permanent resident may petition for his/her spouse and unmarried child(ren) of any age to immigrate to the United States. Congress has limited the number of relatives who may immigrate under these categories each year so there is generally a waiting period before an immigrant visa number becomes available. They will be under the F2 preference category.