Family members of Permanent Residents (Green Card holders)

3 generation familyA Green Card holder (permanent resident) may petition for certain family members to immigrate to the United States as permanent residents.

They may petition for the following family members:

  • Spouse (husband or wife)
  • Unmarried children under 21
  • Unmarried son or daughter of any age
  • If an eligible family member is already in the U.S. legally, he or she may apply to adjust status to become a permanent resident after a visa number becomes available.
  • If a family member is outside the United States, the 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, as they may need to wait for their priority date to become current. Once the priority date is current, they can proceed with visa processing, which may involve submitting additional forms and documents, attending an interview at a US embassy or consulate, and undergoing medical and background checks. Upon approval, the family member can obtain an immigrant visa, enter the US, and receive their green card.

When petitioning for a relative, the following preference categories apply:

  • 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

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