How to Get a Green Card through Family

How to Get a Green Card in the USA with Sponsorship from a Family Member

This process is the same for all states in the country.

Often times applying for a Green Card based on your familial relationship with someone who is already a US citizen or permanent resident involves a lot of waiting. However if you are in one of the following categories you can apply for a Green Card at the same time your sponsor submits a Petition for Alien Relative (form I-130) without having to wait:

If you are not in any of these categories then you have some waiting ahead of you. Either way, your family member who is applying to sponsor you should submit a Petition for Alien Relative form I-130 as soon as possible.

Making a Petition for Alien Relative, form I-130 (instructions), fee $420

Your sponsoring family member will need to submit form I-130 on your behalf, and may do so if he or she is:

  • A US citizen, and you are a:
    • Spouse
    • Sponsor’s child of any age or marital status
    • Brother or sister (you must be over 21)
    • Mother or father (you must be over 21)
  • A permanent resident of the US, and you are a:
    • Spouse
    • Sponsor’s child of any age and not married

As part of your relative’s petition on your behalf, you will need to provide a recent passport-style color photo of yourself and Form G-325A Biographic Information. Your sponsoring family member must submit documents proving you are both related or married, such as:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Documents showing joint ownership of property
  • Lease showing joint tenancy
  • Documents showing shared bank accounts
  • Sworn statements of people testifying to your relationship
  • Birth certificate of children
  • Adoption documents

If you are in one of the three original groups for this category (spouse, unmarried child, or parent of a US citizen) your sponsor can submit your I-130 at the same time you submit a Green Card application (more about this below). If you are a family member of a US citizen or permanent resident who is not listed in the above categories, you will receive your place in line for the immigration process once the I-130 is properly filed. Your place in line is referred to as your Priority Date. It is also a good idea for the person sponsoring you to file the following extra form (not required), which does not cost anything and notifies you by text message and email when the I-130 application has been accepted as complete:

  • E-notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, form G-1145

Visa Bulletin for Family-Sponsored Preferences

For those not listed in the above categories, your Priority Date, or spot in the queue, is the date when your relative’s I-130 form on your behalf was accepted by the USCIS. Your Priority Date is important for determining when you can apply for a Green Card, as the Visa Bulletin schedule will indicate.

The Visa Bulletin is a chart organized by country and by family category. Family members are ranked in order of preference according to the following:

  • F1: Unmarried daughters and sons over the age of 21, of US citizens
  • F2A: Spouses and children of permanent residents
  • F2B: Unmarried daughters and sons over the age of 21, of permanent residents
  • F3: Married daughters and sons of US citizens
  • F4: Sisters and brothers of adult US citizens

The Visa Bulletin will show when your Priority Date will become active, and it is during this time that you can submit an application for a Green Card. If your country and family preference box on the Visa Bulletin is Current (box marked with a C), you can apply. If your Priority Date has already passed or is marked with a U (U meaning no more visas in that category are available for the rest of the fiscal year) you will have to wait until the Visa Bulletin changes to be more favorable for you- it is updated every month, usually between the 8th and the 15th. The Visa Bulletin follows the fiscal year which ends every September 30th, so if your section is marked with a U make sure to check back beginning in October.

Once the Visa Bulletin shows your Priority Date is current you can apply for a Green Card.

Back to Immigrating to the USA

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