Family of Green Card Holders (Permanent Residents)
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
To obtain a Green Card for your family member, you must:
- File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
- Provide proof of your status to demonstrate that you are a permanent resident.
- Submit evidence of the qualifying relationship such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc. See the form instructions for specific documents required.
- Submit proof of any legal name change for you or your family member (the beneficiary).
If you or a member of your family is in the U.S. military special conditions may apply to your situation.
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).
What Happens Next?
- If your relative is already in the United States legally, he or she may apply to adjust status to become a permanent resident after a visa number becomes available using Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
- If your relative is outside the United States, your 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. Once you have filed a petition, you can check its progress on the Check My Case Status page. For visa availability information, see the Visa Bulletin page.