Family Based Green Cards


If you have relatives in the United States, you may be eligible for an immigrant visa and a green card. Both U.S. citizens and permanent residents can file petitions for their foreign relatives. There are several categories of family based immigration.

• Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens: spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older. Immediate relatives are a special preference category and do not have to wait for a visa number to become available to them.

• Family members of U.S. citizens fitting into this family preference category: unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21, married children of any age, and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older. There is usually a waiting period, as visas available for this category are limited.

• Family members of permanent residents: spouses and unmarried children of the petitioning permanent resident. There is generally a waiting period for an immigrant visa number to become available under this category.

• Special categories: battered spouse or child (VAWA), a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen and accompanying minor children, a person born to a foreign diplomat in the United States, a V nonimmigrant or a widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen.