How do I sponsor US Green Cards for my Family members (Spouse, Parents, Children and Siblings)?
US citizens are allowed to sponsor their family members for US Green Cards. You may sponsor your immediate relatives such as your spouse, parents and your children and these immediate relatives need not wait for immigrant visa numbers to become available as there are no limitations in the number of visas that are granted to the immediate relatives of US citizens.
Unlike Green Card holders, US citizens may sponsor other categories of relatives who are not their immediate relatives. You may sponsor them under the family preference categories. But these relatives who are not your immediate relatives may not be able to get immigrant visas immediately and they need to wait for visa numbers to become available and the number of visas that are granted to the relatives of US citizens under the family preference category are limited.
Family preference categories
You may sponsor your unmarried and married children of any age for lawful status in the United States, under the preference categories. Similarly, you may sponsor your siblings for US Green Cards but you need to be above age 21 to sponsor your brothers and sisters.
If you are a Green Card holder, you may sponsor your immediate relatives for permanent residency. As a Green Card holder, you may not be able to sponsor anyone else other than your spouse and your unmarried children. However, they need to wait for a certain period of time to get their immigrant visas.
If you are a Green Card holder or a US citizen, to sponsor your relatives, you need to file the USCIS Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative, for the relative who you wish to sponsor. You need to file separate applications for each family member and you need to enter information about yourself and your family member, in this form.
Immediate relatives of US citizens who are already in the United States, may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, while the US citizen relative files Form I-130. If the relative who you wish to sponsor is currently outside the United States, your relative must file a petition for an immigrant visa at an overseas US Consulate, after Form I-131 filed by you is approved. After the application is approved, the US consular officer will stamp the passport of your relative and your relative can enter the United States as a lawful permanent resident with that stamp.
If you petition for a relative who is not your immediate relative, your relative may not be able to file Form I-485 for adjustment of status while you file Form I-131. Such a relative who comes under the family preference category will have to wait until the form filed by you is approved and until a visa number becomes available and only after that he can file an application for adjustment of status.
To know about the visa numbers, you may check the visa bulletins published by the US Department of State, every month. Once you get to know that a visa number is available in your category, your relative may file Form I-485, if your relative is already in the United States. If not, your relative must file an application for an immigrant visa at an overseas US consulate. After the application is approved and after the passport is stamped, your relative will be allowed to enter into the country as a lawful permanent resident. Later on your relative can file an application for a Green Card and obtain one.