United States Immigration
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Apply for a
Green Card

In order to obtain American green card through a family member, a sponsoring family member has to be either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident in the U.S. (green card holder). It is a long process requiring several steps:

It starts when a sponsoring relative files petition for Alien Relative (form I-130) along with documents which can be a proof your relationship to the sponsoring family member with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. (USCIS)
Even if you are physically present in the United States the Department of State must decide if the immigrant visa number is immediately available, and if yes, you can petition to have immigrant visa number assigned to you.
Once you have your immigrant visa number you will complete the processing in one of the U.S. embassies or consulates in a foreign country where you live. In case you are already present in America you have to apply for adjustment of status to obtain a green card.

Who can sponsor a relative for a green card?

In order to be an eligible green card sponsor of a family member the following criteria must be met:

A sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or a green card holder in the United States and be able to show the proof of that status.
A sponsoring family member has to also show proof that he of she is able to financially support a relative (rules of 125% above the mandated poverty line apply here)

U.S. citizens can be sponsors of the following relatives to immigrate to the United States, and in all cases must provide proof of the family relationships:

Their husbands or wives.
Their unmarried child under 21 years of age.
Unmarried children who are over 21.
Married son or daughter of any age.
Their Brothers or sisters, if they are at least 21 years old.
Their parents, if they are at least 21 years old.
Green card holders may sponsor the following foreign family members to immigrate to the U.S.
Husbands and wives.
Unmarried sons or daughters.
Preference Categories

The U.S. immigration laws adopted so called preference system which classifies all persons who want to become immigrants into certain categories. The immigrant visa numbers are given based on those preference categories, all sponsored family relatives must obtain one.

Parents of U.S. citizens, their husbands or wives and unmarried children who are under the age of 21 years are all considered immediate relatives and never have to wait for an immigrant visa number if the application was approved by USCIS. All other family members have to wait for immigrant visa numbers according to the preference categories which are:

Sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who are not married and at least 21 years old.
Husbands or wives of green card holders (permanent residents), their children who are not married and under 21 years old, and the unmarried sons and daughters of green card holders.
Children of U.S. citizens who are married.
Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.

Approved by USCIS applications are send to the National Visa Center where they wait for the immigrant visa number be become available. The NVC sends notifications informing that it received an application, and then again when visa number become available to the petition immigrant.


US Immigration