Green Card for Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizen

If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you can become a lawful permanent resident (get a Green Card) based on your family relationship if you meet certain eligibility requirements.

You are an immediate relative if you are:

  • The spouse of a U.S. citizen;
  • The unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. citizen; or
  • The parent of a U.S. citizen (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age or older).
Green Card for Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizen

There are 2 ways to deal with such family reunifications:

  1. If you are overseas, your U.S. citizen immediate relative should file Form I-130 with USCIS. Once approved, the case is transferred to the National Visa Center for further processing. You should complete required forms, gather supporting documents, and attend an interview at the US embassy or consulate in your home country. If approved, you will receive an immigrant visa. Upon entry to the US, you will receive your green card by mail. Requirements and procedures may vary. 
  2. If you are physically present in the U.S., and were inspected or paroled here, you can apply for a green card without the need to leave the country, regardless of your status. If or when approved, you will receive a green card, granting you permanent resident status without having to travel abroad for visa processing. You should not leave the country without a green card, or travel document (Advance Parole), whichever you receive first.

If you are in the process of deportation, it is possible to obtain a green card through family reunification with an immediate relative who is a US citizen. However, it is a more complex situation where it is advisable to seek help from an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible.