Permanent Residence in U.S.
Family Based Green Card Petition
Categories of relatives
There are various family relatives of U.S. citizens, and of legal permanent residents in some cases, who can apply for a green card. Depending on your familiar relationship, you can apply for a green card immediately or you have to wait until a green card is available in your category.
Immediate Relatives Category. There are an unlimited number of green cards immediately available for “immediate relatives”.
Who is considered an immediate relative?
-Spouses of U.S. citizens, including recent widows and widowers.
-Unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens. Step-children are included if the marriage creating the familial relationship occurred before the child’s 18th birthday). Please note there are special rules and circumstances for adopted children from foreign countries.
-Parents of U.S. citizens, if the U.S. child is age 21 or older (step-parents are included in the marriage creating the familial relationship occurred before the child’s 18th birthday).
All other family relatives, as listed below, are wait listed unfortunately. This means they must wait, sometimes many years, until a green card becomes available. However, filing the initial application is the key to reserving their place in line.
Family First Preference Category.
-Unmarried children, of any age, of a U.S. citizen
Family Second Preference Category.
(2A) Spouses and unmarried children under age 21 of legal permanent residents (green card holders)'; and
(2B) Unmarried children, age 21 or older, of legal permanent residents (green card holders).
Family Third Preference Category.
Married children of a U.S. citizen, any age.
Family Fourth Preference Category.
Sisters and brothers of U.S. citizens. The U.S. citizen must be of age 21 or older.