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Green Cards through Family Member

Green Cards Through Family Member

To be eligible for Green Card through a family member, you must be the beneficiary of an approved I-130 petition filed by your family member who is either a U.S. Citizen (USC) or a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Therefore, the process must start with your family member filing a petition with the USCIS on your behalf. Upon filing, the petition will be classified under Immediate Relative, or a Preference Visa Category ranging from F1 to F4. This classification depends on your family member’s immigration status (USC or LPR) and the nature of your relationship with them.

Immediate Relative. The USCIS processes your petition under Immediate Relative Category if you are:
• Spouse of a USC
• Unmarried child (under the age of 21) of a USC
• Parent of a USC who is at least 21 years old

Preference Visa Category. Your petition will be processed under one of the following categories:
• F-1: If you are unmarried son or daughter (over 21) of USC
• F-2A: If you are spouse or child (under 21) of LPR
• F-2B: If you are unmarried son or daughter (over 21) of LPR
• F3: If you are married son or daughter of USC
• F4: If you are a siblings of adult USC

Also, depending on your family member’s residence at the time of filing and the petition’s classification, the USCIS assigns the petition to one of the five USCIS Service Centers, California, Nebraska, Potomac, Texas, or Vermont. Each Center has a different processing time for different types of classification. For example, the current processing time at the California Service Center for immediate relative petition is 10.5 months while it takes the same Center 140 months to process a petition under F4 classification. If you already have a pending petition with the USCIS, here is the link to the USCIS’ website to check your processing time.

With the exception of adjustment of status under Immediate Relative of a USC, which allows for concurrent filing of I-130 petition and application for green card, you must wait out this processing time until you receive a decision on your I-130 petition. In other words, if you are in one of the preference categories, or immediate relative outside the US, you can only move forward and start your green card application process after the I-130 petition is approved. Even then, you may only proceed when a visa number becomes available. While a visa number is immediately available under Immediate Relative category, under preference categories it may take years from the filing date of the petition (Priority Date) before a visa number becomes available. Here is the link to the State Department Visa Bulletin Board that shows the wait time, which they update every month.

Once you are ready to move forward with your application for green card, there will be two basic paths to apply for the green card: consular processing if you are outside the United State, or adjustment of status if you are in the United States. Contact us if you need our help with either process.

Other Basis for Eligibility for Green Card through Family

• You may be eligible to adjust status as Fiancé(e) of a USC or the fiancé(e)’s child without the need to file the I-130 petition if you were admitted to the U.S. under K-1 or K-2 nonimmigrant visas . See Fiancé(e) section for details.

• You may be eligible to apply for green card as Widow(er) if you are widow or widower of a USC and you were married to your U.S. citizen spouse at the time your spouse died

• You may be eligible to apply for green card as a self-petitioner victim of battery or extreme cruelty if you are an abused:

  1. spouse of a USC or LPR
  2. unmarried child (under 21) of a USC or LPR
  3. parent of a USC
    See our VAWA section for details.