Green cards for family members make up the largest portion of the U.S. immigration system.
Each year, over 500,000 persons obtain lawful permanent residence in the US by being sponsored by a relative who is a US citizen or a green card holder. We provide videos and links explaining how you can obtain a green card through the family-based preference categories.
When will your priority date become current? See our Visa Bulletin Predictions page.
Spouses, children and parents of US citizens who are “immediate relatives” who are not subject to numerical quotas. All other categories of relatives are subject to a numerically-limited preference system.
US citizens may sponsor the following relatives for lawful permanent residence:
- Unmarried Adult Sons and Daughters
- Married Sons and Daughters
- Brothers and Sisters
Permanent residents may sponsor their
You can stay up-to-date with the waiting times in the Visa Bulletin by subscribing to our Free E-Mail Newsletter.
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- James Baker, Portland, Oregon
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The process of sponsoring a relative for permanent residence starts when the US citizen or lawful permanent resident in the US submits an I-130 visa petition to the USCIS. Assuming that the I-130 is approved by the USCIS, this creates a priority date, or a place in line, for their relative, and his or her family, to immigrate to the US.
Green Cards for Family Members is divided into the following topics:
- Green Cards Through Marriage
- Green Cards for Immediate Relatives
- Green Cards Through Adoption
- Green Cards for Brothers and Sisters
- Green Cards for Parents
- Green Cards for Unmarried Sons/Daughters of US Citizens
- Green Cards for Married Sons/Daughters of US Citizens
- Green Cards for Spouse and Children of LPRs
- Green Cards for Widow(er)s of US Citizens
- Child Status Protection Act
- Affidavits of Support
Videos – Green Cards For Family Members
- How to Obtain a Green Card Through Marriage Immigrants who marry US citizens are considered “immediate relatives” when obtaining green cards, freeing them from quota restrictions and allowing them to adjust their status to permanent residents.
- Green Cards for Family Members US citizens may sponsor their spouses, parents, children, and siblings for green cards while green card holders may apply for their spouses and unmarried children.
- Family Preference Categories: An Introduction Introduction to the family preference categories under under which US citizens and green card holders can sponsor their relatives for permanent residence.
- Family-Based Immigration: Speeding up Your Case How to speed up the process of family-based immigration by changing preference categories, using alternate chargeability and the Child Status Protection Act.
- Visa Bulletin: Family-Based Categories Attorney Shusterman explains the family-based categories in the monthly Visa Bulletin.
Success Stories : Green Cards for Family Members
- Daughter Reunited with Ailing Mother through Humanitarian Parole
- Turning Around a Green Card Denial – Part 2
- Turning Around a Green Card Denial – Part 1
- Keeping a Family United through CSPA
- When You’re Lost in the Rain in Juarez
- Recapturing an Old Priority Date, Seven Years Later
- Survivors Law Brings Visa Petition Back to Life
- The Inspirational Story of a Young Immigrant
- Immigrant Family’s Kafkaesque Ordeal
General Information – Green Cards For Family Members
- Family-Based Immigrants – USCIS Policy Manual
- Family-Based Immigrant Visas (State Department)
- I am a US Citizen: How Do I Help My Relatives Become Permanent Residents? (USCIS)
- I am an LPR: How Do I Help My Relatives Become Permanent Residents? (USCIS)
- How Do I Financially Sponsor Someone Who Wants to Immigrate? (USCIS)
- How the Survivors’ Law Works
Green Cards For Family Members: Additional Resources
- How to Make an Expedite Request (USCIS)
- AAO Non-Precedent Decisions on Petition for Alien Relative (Adam Walsh Act Only)
- AAO Non-Precedent Decisions on Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative
- AAO Non-Precedent Decisions on Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition
Green Cards for Family Members: Practice Advisories
- Mandamus Actions: Avoiding Dismissal and Proving the Case
- Practice Tip: Mandamus May Get Results When Nothing Else Works
- Practice Tip: Responding to a Request for Evidence
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Immigration Attorney Carl Shusterman has 40+ years of experience. He served as an attorney for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) from 1976 until 1982, when he entered private practice. He has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in SuperLawyers Magazine. Today, he serves as Of Counsel to JR Immigration Law Firm.