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As A Legal Permanent Resident Who Can I Petition For?

GREEN CARD HOLDERS (PERMANENT RESIDENTS) PETITIONING FOR FAMILY MEMBERS

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

WHICH RELATIVES MAY I PETITION FOR?

A permanent resident of the United States can file a petition for the following relatives:
• Husband or wife; and
• Unmarried child(ren), regardless of age.

Note: Only U.S. citizens may petition for married children.

You begin the process by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. An I-130 form is available on our Web site at www.uscis.gov.

When you submit your petition, you are required to provide evidence to prove your relationship to the person for whom you are filing.

WHAT DOES THE PETITION DO FOR MY RELATIVE?

Filing an I-130 relative petition and proving a qualifying relationship gives your relative a place in line for a visa number among others waiting to immigrate based on that same kind of relationship from
the same country or region. When your relative reaches the head of the line, he or she may be eligible to immigrate.

WHAT ABOUT MY RELATIVE’S FAMILY?

In most cases, when your spouse’s place in line is reached, his or her unmarried children under 21 years old can follow to join the relative on the same visa petition. However, if an unmarried child
turns 21 years old before reaching the front of the line, you will need to file a new separate petition for each child included on the original petition. Please following instructions and include a copy of
the receipt notice for the original petition.

WHAT IF MY UNMARRIED CHILD MARRIES?

A petition for an unmarried child will be automatically revoked if he or she marries, since there is no visa category for a married son or daughter of a permanent resident. However, if you become a U.S.
citizen before your child marries, you can continue the immigration process by filing a new I-130 visa petition for your child.

AFTER I FILE, HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE BEFORE MY RELATIVE CAN IMMIGRATE?

For most relatives, the combination of high demand and the limits set by law on how many people can immigrate each year means that they may have to wait several years. When your relative
reaches the front of the line, the U.S. Department of State contacts your relative and invites him or her to apply for an immigrant visa. If you are interested in current wait times, see “Visa Bulletins” on the
State Department’s Web site at www.travel.state.gov/visa.

WHAT IF MY UNMARRIED CHILD MARRIES?

A petition for an unmarried child will be automatically revoked if he or she marries, since there is no visa category for a married son or daughter of a permanent resident. However, if you become a U.S.
citizen before your child marries, you can continue the immigration process by filing a new I-130 visa petition for your child.

AFTER I FILE, HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE BEFORE MY RELATIVE CAN IMMIGRATE?

For most relatives, the combination of high demand and the limits set by law on how many people can immigrate each year means that they may have to wait several years. When your relative reaches the front of the line, the U.S. Department of State contacts your relative and invites him or her to apply for an immigrant visa. If you are interested in current wait times, see “Visa Bulletins” on the State Department’s Web site at www.travel.state.gov/visa.

WHAT IF I FILED A PETITION FOR A RELATIVE WHEN I WAS A PERMANENT RESIDENT, BUT I AM NOW A U.S. CITIZEN?

If you become a U.S. citizen while your relative is waiting for a visa, you can upgrade your relative’s visa classification and advance the processing of that petition by notifying the appropriate agency of
your naturalization. When you are a U.S. citizen, your spouse and any unmarried children under age 21 will have visas immediately available to them.


• If you become a U.S. citizen after your Form I-130 petition is already approved and it has been forwarded to the U.S. Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC), you should notify the NVC that you have become a U.S. citizen. Requests to upgrade petitions due to the naturalization of the petitioner should be sent to:

National Visa Center
31 Rochester Avenue, Suite 200
Portsmouth, NH 03801-2915

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). For more information on priority dates, see the Visa Availability and Priority Dates page.

AFTER THE PETITION

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.

For more information on becoming a permanent resident, see the Adjustment of Status (for processing within the United States) and Consular Processing (for processing overseas) pages. For more information on Green Cards, see the Green Card page. For more information on each benefit type and the steps to take to help your relative immigrate, visit the Green Card Processes and Procedures page.

Note: A visa petition (Form I-130) is only used to demonstrate a qualifying relationship. An approved petition DOES NOT grant any benefit except to create a place in line for visa processing. For more information on Green Cards, see the Green Card page. For more information on relatives and Green Cards, see the Family of Green Card Holders (Permanent Residents) page.



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