Yes. There are several ways family members can sponsor you for a green card. A United States Citizen, (“USC”) family member can petition for a beneficiary who is seeking a green card if the petitioning family member is a Spouse; a Parent petitioning for child; a Parent petitioning for son or daughter 21 years of age or older, a sibling, or the Son or Daughter 21 years of age or older petitioning for a Parent. A Legal Permanent Resident (“LPR”) family member can petition for a beneficiary who is seeking a green card if the petitioning family member is a Spouse ; a Parent petitioning for a Child or a Parent petitioning for a Son or Daughter 21 years of age or older who is not married.
Are all petitioning family members treated equally? Which Family Members Can Get me a Green Card?
No. Unfortunately, all categories have not been designed equally and some take much longer than others. For example, it would take a sibling of a U.S. citizen over 14 years to get a green card. Petitioning family members are broken into two main categories. These two categories are defined as Immediate Family member categories and Family Preference categories. There are two significant distinctions between these two types of categories.
Immediate Family Petitions are not subject to Green Card availability limitations known as a cap meaning there is no waiting in line for a Green Card after the initial petition is filed. The second category, Family Preference Petitions, are subject to an annual Green Card cap which has created a que or line a Family Preference Beneficiary must wait on after the initial Petition is filed. Depending the Family Preference subcategory and the region of the world the Beneficiary family member is from determines the amount of time the Beneficiary must wait on the line before proceeding to the nest step in acquiring the Green Card.
What family members are considered to fall under immediate family member categories?
IR-1: Spouses of USCs.
IR-2: Unmarried children under 21 years of age of a USC Parent.
IR-3: Orphans adopted abroad by a USC.
IR-4 Orphans to be adopted in the US by a USC.
IR-5 Parents of a USC where the petitioning USC must be at least 21 years of age.
What family members are considered to fall under family preference categories?
F-1, First Preference category which are comprised of unmarried sons and daughters of a USC parent.
F-2A, First level subcategory under the Second Preference category which are comprised of Spouses and minor children of Lawful Permanent Residents.
F-2B, Second level subcategory under the Second Preference category which are comprised of unmarried sons and daughters 21 years of age or older of Lawful Permanent Residents.
F-3, Third Preference category which are comprised of Married sons and daughters of a US Citizen parent.
F-4, Fourth Preference category which are comprised of Brothers and sisters of USCs.
Depending on which category you are in will determine how long you have to wait for your green card. Our next post describes How Long you will have to wait for a Family Based Green Card. Click Here.
In this family based series of immigration blog posts you can find information on the following:
- Can my Family Members file a Green Card Application for Me? Can I get a Green Card through Family?
- How long will I have to Wait for My Green Card? What is the Visa Bulletin?
- How do I Begin a Family Based Green Card Case? What Do I have to Do to Get a Green Card Through Family? Adjustment of Status
- How do I Begin a Family Based Green Card Case? What Do I have to Do to Get a Green Card Through Family? Consular Processing
- What happens to child who turns 21 years old while waiting for a priority date? My Child is Waiting for a Green Card – What if my Child turns 21?
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