Family Green Card

U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents have the ability to petition for certain members of their family. These petitions, when approved, enable family members to obtain lawful permanent residence. U.S. citizens can petition for spouses, children, adult sons and daughters, parents and brothers and sisters. Lawful permanent residents are able to petition for spouses, children, and unmarried adult son and daughters. With the exception of children and parents of U.S. Citizens, who are considered immediate relatives and are able to immediately obtain green cards upon approval of their petitions, all other categories must wait until there are green cards available in their family category.

UsImmigrationForms / Family Green Card

The number of Green Cards issued in this manner is not limited since the U.S. government desires to keep families together. However, only certain family members are considered immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen: spouses, widows and widowers, parents and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. These foreigners may apply for a Green Card while in the U.S. provided that they entered the country in a legal way.

As a battered spouse, child or parent of a green card holder, the Immigration and Nationality Act has created provisions under The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that allows you to file a petition for yourself without notifying your abuser. These provisions apply equally to women and men.

U.S. citizens may petition on behalf of family members who don’t fall into the “immediate relative” category. Once the petition has been approved and a visa number made available, unmarried children of 21 years of age or older, married children of any age as well as siblings of a U.S. citizen (the U.S. sibling has to be at least 21) can apply for a Green Card through a U.S. Consulate in their native country.

A fairly limited number of Green Cards is issued to spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents. The U.S. relative has to file a visa petition for you and any of your unmarried children. As soon as this visa is available, you have the right to apply for a Green Card at your local U.S. Consulate. There is also a reasonably short waiting period associated with this type of immigration benefit.

In order for a foreign national and their future U.S. citizen spouse to avoid a long physical separation, a K-1 visa is issued to a non-U.S. fiancé(e). This enables the couple to get married in a timely manner and subsequently file a Green card petition with the USCIS. Minor children (under the age of 18) of a non-U.S. fiancé(e) are issued a K-2 visa.

If your permanent residence status was granted because of a marriage that was less than 2 years old at the time, it is conditional. You must remove these conditions to become a lawful permanent resident.

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