Who can you help?
- Spouse (husband or wife)
- Unmarried children under 21
- Unmarried son or daughter of any age
How do you apply?
To obtain a green card for your family member, you must:
- File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
- Provide proof of your status to demonstrate that you are a permanent resident.
- Submit evidence of the qualifying relationship such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc. See the form instructions for specific documents required.
- Submit proof of any legal name change for you or your family member (the beneficiary).
The higher the preference, the faster the application will be approved
- First preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. (Adult means 21 or older)
- Second Preference (2A): Spouses of green card holders, unmarried children (under 21) of permanent residents
- Second Preference (2B): Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents
- Third Preference: Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens
- Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens
A visa becomes available to a preference category according to the priority date (the date the I-130 was properly filed).
What Happens Next?
- If your relative is already in the United States legally, he or she may apply to adjust status to become a permanent resident after a visa number becomes available using Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
- If your relative is outside the United States, your petition will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will forward your petition to the appropriate U.S. consulate when a visa becomes available and your relative will be notified about how to proceed. This process is referred to as “Consular Processing.”
- Your family member’s preference category will determine how long he or she will have to wait for an immigrant visa number.
Note: A visa petition (Form I-130) is only used to demonstrate a qualifying relationship. An approved petition DOES NOT grant any benefit except to create a place in line for visa processing.