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Can I sponsor my relative for a green card?

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Miami immigration attorney Oleg Otten - Can I sponsor my relative for a green card

As a permanent resident, can I sponsor my relative for a green card?

You know that US citizens can sponsor their relatives for permanent residence. But what if you are a permanent resident, and you are asking yourself: “Can I sponsor my relative for a green card too?”

The answer is yes, for some relatives. Green card holders can petition for some relatives to come and live permanently in the United States. As a permanent resident, you may petition for your wife or husband and unmarried children of any age to immigrate to the United States. Normally, a family member of a permanent resident will have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available.

How to get a Green Card while inside the US?

If you are now in the United States and are one of the specified categories of relatives of a permanent resident, you may be able to become a permanent resident in two steps.

  • Step One – Your permanent resident relative must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for you and it must be approved. You must wait for your priority date in your immigrant visa category to become current. Your priority date is the date when the Form I-130 is properly filed on your behalf by your U.S. permanent resident relative.
  • Step Two – Once the priority date in your visa category is current, you may file for adjustment of status with Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Adjustment of status is the process you go through to become a permanent resident.

How to get a Green Card while outside the US?

If you are now outside the United States and are one of the specified eligible categories of relatives of a permanent resident, you can become a permanent resident through consular processing. Consular processing is when the USCIS works with the U.S. Department of State to issue a visa on an approved Form I-130 petition when a visa is available. In this process the Department of State will issue you a visa. If approved, you may then travel on the visa and will officially become a permanent resident when admitted at a U.S. port of entry.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Turning 21 years of age. If you are an unmarried child of a permanent resident, turning 21 years of age may delay the process of becoming a permanent resident or obtaining an immigrant visa. You will no longer qualify as an “Unmarried Child of a Lawful Permanent Resident” (F2A) and will convert to the category of an “Unmarried Son or Daughter of a Lawful Permanent Resident” (F2B). This change in categories may result in a significant delay in your immigrant visa becoming available.
  • The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). In certain cases, the CSPA may allow you to retain the classification of “child” even if you have reached age 21.
  • Getting Married. If you are the unmarried son or daughter of a permanent resident, and you get married prior to becoming a permanent resident, you no longer qualify for permanent residence through your permanent resident family member. There is no visa category for a married child of a permanent resident. Note: You must notify USCIS of any change in your marital status after Form I-130 has been filed for you and prior to becoming a permanent resident or obtaining an immigrant visa.
  • Permanent Resident Relative Becomes a U.S. citizen. If the permanent resident relative that petitioned for you becomes a U.S. citizen, your preference category would change and a visa may be available sooner. This is because you would now be getting a green card as a relative of a U.S. citizen.  For more information on getting a green card through a U.S. citizen relative, see the “Green Card for a Family Member of a U.S. Citizen” and “Green Card for an Immediate Relative of a U.S. Citizen” pages.

Green Card through special categories of family

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You may be able to become a permanent resident (get a green card) through a special family situation. These adjustment-of-status programs are limited to individuals who meet particular qualifications and apply during certain time frames.

For more information on the following categories of family members visit these webpages at USCIS:

For more information on other special categories that may lead to permanent residence, see a USCIS webpage Other Ways to get a Green Card, or sign up for a consultation with the Miami immigration attorney Oleg Otten.

Florida immigration attorney Oleg Otten


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