How Do I Sponsor My Family Member for a US Green Card?

You may file an application for a Green Card for your family member, if you are a citizen of the United States. If you are a US citizen, you may sponsor your family member by filing the USCIS Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. You can file this form to sponsor your husband/wife, child, your parents and your brothers or sisters. This does not apply to the Green Card holders, as they can only sponsor their spouse and unmarried children, for lawful status in the country.

If you are a US citizen and if you wish to sponsor your family member who does not fit into the immediate relative category, you may still sponsor that relative under the family preference category. You may sponsor your married children, unmarried children above age 21 and your siblings, in the family preference category. These relatives, who are not your immediate relatives, will have to wait for visa numbers to become current and they can immigrate to the United States only after visa numbers in their particular categories are made available.

But your wife or husband, children below age 21 and your parents, who are your immediate relatives may not be required to wait for a long time to obtain their immigrant visas.

Green Card Under the Family Preference Category While in the United States

Being a US citizen, if you wish to sponsor your brother for lawful status in the United States and if your brother is in the country on some other non-immigrant visa, you will have to file an immigrant petition, Form I-130, for your brother. You may sponsor your brother in the family preference category and filing Form I-130, is the first thing that you need to do. After the form filed by you is approved, your foreign national brother must wait for his priority date. If a visa number in the family preference category is available, your brother can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. By filing a form for adjustment of status, your brother can change his status to permanent resident status and become a Green Card holder.

Green Card Under the Family Preference Category While Abroad

Similarly, if you look forward to sponsor your brother who is currently outside the United States, you must first file Form I-130. After the petition filed by you is approved, USCIS will work with the US Department of State and issue an immigrant visa to your brother who is abroad and this process is called consular processing. After getting an immigrant visa, your brother can travel to the United States and obtain a Green Card and reside there as a lawful permanent resident.

Things to Remember

If you are a US citizen and if you had filed Form I-130, for your daughter below age 21 and if she gets married before she becomes a Green Card holder, she may not become eligible for an immigrant visa in the immediate relative category and she will become eligible to immigrate to the United States, only under the family preference category. And your daughter will have to wait for a long time to get an immigrant visa.

Similarly, if you have filed Form I-130, for your son or daughter below age 21 and if your son or daughter turns 21, prior to becoming a lawful permanent resident, he or she may not become eligible to get an immigrant visa under the immediate relative category and will have to wait for a visa number to become available under the family preference category. After a visa number becomes available, he or she can immigrate to the United States and get a Green Card and live anywhere in the United States.

USCitizenship.info | Articles


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