What is a family based green card?

A family based Green Card allows foreign members of U.S. citizens to become permanent residents in the USA. If these family members are successful, they will be given a Green Card, letting them stay in the U.S permanently.

As a U.S. citizen, you can petition for certain overseas relatives to legally reside with you in the country. As part of your family based Green Card documents, you will be required to prove that you have enough income to support your relatives. If your family member is granted a Green Card, they are free to live, work and study in the U.S. without immigration restrictions. They can live in any state, go to any school/college and work in any role or profession.

The family Green Card categories of eligible relatives are: Spouses; Unmarried children under the age of 21; and other immediate relatives, such as parents and siblings.

How can IAS help your family petition for a Green Card?

Every U.S. citizen has the right to bring his or her family in the U.S., and we want to help you and your loved ones.

Our immigration lawyers can support you in getting a Green Card for your family. They are ready to provide you with our best service.

We will check that you are eligible to sponsor your family members and review your supporting documents. We will follow you through your visa application process, ensuring that all forms are correctly filed.

If you want to discuss your circumstances with one of our experts, contact us on +1844 290 6312 and get in touch today.


Who can apply for a family based Green Card?

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you may petition for the following family green cards:

  • Spouse (husband or wife);
  • Unmarried children under the age 21;
  • Your parents;
  • Brothers or sisters over the age of 21.

Your partner may also be eligible for a Green Card through marriage.

What are the family Green Card categories?

The U.S. immigration law acknowledges four family green card categories of “preference immigrants”:

  • First Preference (F1): unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens;
  • Second Preference (F2A): spouses and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of U.S. permanent residents;
  • Second Preference (F2B): adult children as dependents of lawful permanent residents;
  • Third Preference Visa (F3): married children of U.S. citizens;
  • Fourth Preference (F4): brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (over the age of 21).

Based on the preference category, the family green card timeline may differ.

How to request a Green Card through your family?

  • If your relatives live in another country:

You need to file a Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative). To be accepted, your Green Card application must include evidence of your relationship with your family members.

By filing this petition, you formally agree to become your relatives’ financial sponsor. If your I-130 Form is approved, you will need to submit the Form I-864 (Affidavit or Support). If you do not meet the financial qualifications, you can ask another member of your household to join your income level. In this case, you both need to sign a contract on Form I-864A.

After the approval of your Form I-130, your family can fill out the Form I-485 to apply to adjust their status as permanent residents.

  • If your relatives are already legally in the U.S.:

If your relatives are already in the country under different visas, you may not need to file any petition. They can personally fill out an I-458 to adjust their status to lawful permanent residence.

What documents are needed for a family-based Green Card?

To obtain a family Green Card, you must be a U.S. permanent resident or citizen, and be able to provide proof of your status.

Each of your relatives must submit the following documentation to support his or her application:

  • A copy of his or her birth certificate;
  • A copy of his or her national identity document;
  • Two passport-style photographs;
  • A certified record of criminal charges or convictions.

The Home Office will then ask for adequate evidence of the relationship between you and your relatives. In case of no acceptable attestation of kinship, your application may be rejected.

What is the family Green Card processing time?

Your relatives will have a direct place in line in the family Green Card timeline with other applicants from the same country.

As soon as the USCIS approves your I-130 petition, the Department of State will invite your family to apply for an immigrant visa. If they meet all the requirements, they will be able to make a legal entry in the U.S. and, subsequently, adjust their permanent resident status.

It is worth noting that your family is not allowed to wait in the U.S. until they obtain permanent residence. Nevertheless, if they have already legally entered the country, they are free to apply to adjust their status. If you want your children to join you in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant status, you can apply for a Dependents Visa.

Since there are several documents required, the family Green Card processing time may depend on various factors. Thus, it is not possible to provide a timeframe, but your solicitor can show you the best way to monitor the progress of your application. Usually, you and your family will be notified when the USCIS receives your petition and when it has made its decision.

You can file a 1-130 petition if you are a U.S. permanent resident. If you eventually become a U.S. citizen, you need to inform the State Department’s National Visa Centre (NVC) immediately. When you become a U.S. citizen, your spouse and your children may have their visa immediately released.

What are the family Green Card fees?

If you want to sponsor your family members, you need to start your application process by filing an I-130. This will cost $535.

After your I-130 petition approval, your relatives may need to file an I-485 to adjust their status. This stage of the process often includes biometric fees, for a total of $1,125.

Every immigrant admitted in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident must pay a USCIS Immigrant Fee of $165. You can pay online through the USCIS ELIS (Electronic Immigration System). It is usually recommended to pay this fee only after your family receives the immigrant visa packet from the U.S. Embassy. However, your lawyer will advise you on what is the correct way to proceed through your application.

What services does IAS offer?

If your petition is incomplete, the USCIS may ask for more evidence or information. This may delay the processing time and jeopardize your Green Card application.

Our team of experienced immigration lawyers can help you gain a green card for your family members.

We will:

  • Assess your relatives’ eligibility;
  • Ensure you can sponsor your family members;
  • Make sure you have acceptable proof of your relationship with your relatives;
  • Liaise with you and your family at any time which is suitable for you;
  • Help you filing all the forms needed for your application.

Contact us on +1844 290 6312 or enquire online to discuss your application with one of our experts.

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