For many around the globe, living and working in the United States is a dream. Generations of immigrants have arrived with the hope of starting a new life.
But once you begin your American journey, soon you may want your family members to join. If you have become a citizen of the U.S. or a permanent resident, there may be pathways in which your family can gain green cards as well.
It’s important to remember that even though you apply for a green card, there’s no certainty of approval and the wait could be lengthy. Immediate family members of U.S. citizens have the best chances for a green card, but there are some instances in which family of permanent residents can get green cards as well.
Family of citizens
Immediate family members of U.S. citizens are eligible for a green card if the citizen petitions for them. This process moves quickly, and the relative can get a green card as soon as all the paperwork is filed. The following people are eligible:
- Spouses of U.S. citizens
- Children of U.S. citizens under 21 and unmarried
- U.S. citizens’ parents, if the citizen is 21 or older
- Stepchildren and stepparents of U.S. citizens, as long as the marriage creating the relationship took place when the child was under 18
- U.S. citizens’ adopted children, as long as the child was under 16 when the adoption happened
Family of green-card holders and other relatives
There are fewer options for relatives of green-card holders and citizens’ other family members to gain permanent residence, but they do exist. Annually, only 480,000 immigrants get green cards in this category, and it works on a first-come-first-serve basis. The following relatives are eligible for green cards in order of preference:
- Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens
- Spouses and children of green-card holders
- Married children of U.S. citizens
- Siblings of adult U.S. citizens
Filing for a green card
The application process for a green card is sometimes lengthy, as is the wait. To ensure that you are aware of all your options and to make sure the application is completed properly and you have all necessary supporting documents, enlisting the help of an immigration attorney can be helpful. This will help make sure the process is as speedy as possible.
You want to live the American dream, but you want your family by your side to live it with you.