Spouse, Unmarried children under 21,..
LPR Helping Family

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Helping your Family: Spouse, Unmarried children under 21, unmarried children of any age

As a green card holder (permanent resident), you can help certain family members come to America and get their legal permanent residence. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen in this case.

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).

Preference Categories

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.