Family-Based Immigration

I Am a U.S. Citizen. For Whom Can I Petition a Permanent Residency?

You may petition for your “immediate relatives” who are defined as spouse, unmarried children under 21 years old, and parents, if you are 21 or over. For immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, visas are always available, which means that your family member does not need to wait in line for a visa. 

You can also petition for family members who are not your “immediate relatives”, including sons and daughters (married and/or 21 or over) and siblings, if you are 21 or over. Those relatives are within different preference categories and visas are not always available. Check the visa availability and current priority date with your attorney. 

I Am a U.S. Citizen. Can My Spouse Reside in the United States While Her Petition for Permanent Residency Is Pending?

Yes. Once the petition is filed and its status is pending, your spouse is allowed to live in the United States under a K-3 Visa. Your spouse may also work here under this type of visa. However, she may also choose to wait abroad for the petition to be approved. 

I Am a U.S. Permanent Resident. For Whom Can I Petition a Permanent Residency?

As a Green Card holder (permanent resident), you may petition for certain family members to immigrate to the United States as permanent residents.

You May Petition For The Following Family Members:

  • Spouse (husband or wife)
  • Unmarried children under 21
  • Unmarried son or daughter of any age

When Petitioning for a Relative, What Is the Order of the Preference Categories?

When petitioning for your 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

A visa becomes available to a preference category according to the priority date (the date the I-130 was properly filed).

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