Can US green card holder get permanent residency for relatives?


The answer is yes for immediate family members only. US immigration law allows this to promote family unity. Green card holders can petition for relatives to come and live permanently in the United States.  For his/her spouse and unmarried child(ren) of any age to immigrate to the US a permanent resident may petition. There is generally a waiting period before an immigrant visa number becomes available since Congress has limited the number of relatives who may immigrate under these categories each year. Qualifying eligible relatives of a U.S. permanent resident under this criterion belong to what is called a “family preference category”.

Following are the steps required to get a green card for relatives of a permanent resident:

If applicant is inside the United States

You may be able to become a permanent resident in two steps if you are currently in the United States and are one of the specified categories of relatives of a permanent resident:

Step OneForm I-130, Petition for Alien Relative must be filed by permanent resident relative for applicant and it must be approved. The priority date for that visa must become current in the chosen immigrant visa category. The priority date is the date when the Form I-130 was filed with correct fee and signature on applicant’s behalf by U.S. permanent resident relative. 

Step Two – Applicant can file for adjustment of status with Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status once the priority date in your visa category is current, you may. After going through the adjustment of status process applicant becomes a permanent resident. 

If applicant is outside the United States

You can become a permanent resident through consular processing if you are currently outside the United States and are one of the specified eligible categories of relatives of a permanent resident. Consular processing is when we work with the U.S. Department of State to issue a visa on an approved Form I-130 petition when a visa is available. In this process the Department of State will issue you a visa. If approved, you may then travel on the visa and will officially become a permanent resident when admitted at a U.S. port of entry after approval from customs and border protection officer.

  • Turning 21 years of age: It may delay the process of becoming a permanent resident or obtaining an immigrant visa If you are an unmarried child of a permanent resident, turning 21 years of age.  You will no longer qualify as an “Unmarried Child of a Lawful Permanent Resident” (F2A) and will convert to the category of an “Unmarried Son or Daughter of a Lawful Permanent Resident (F2B).” This change in categories may result in a significant delay in your immigrant visa becoming available.
  • The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA): In certain cases, the CSPA may allow you to retain the classification of “child” even if you have reached 21 years of age.
  • Getting Married: Applicant no longer qualifies for permanent residence through your permanent resident family member if you are the unmarried son or daughter of a permanent resident, and you get married prior to becoming a permanent resident. There is no visa category for a married child of a permanent resident. Any change in your marital status after Form I-130 has been filed for you and prior to becoming a permanent resident or obtaining an immigrant visa should be informed to USCIS.
  • Permanent Resident Relative Becomes a U.S. citizen. Your preference category could change and a visa may be available sooner if the permanent resident relative that petitioned for you files application for US citizenship and becomes a U.S. Citizen.  This is because you would now be getting a green card as a relative of a U.S. citizen.
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