Family Petitions (Marriage & Others)
Immigration through an Immediate Relative
As a foreign national, you may be qualified to apply for a U.S. green card through your parents, children, spouse, or siblings. Whether you can apply immediately or will have to wait depends upon the family relationship. Immediate relatives of US citizens include parents, spouses, and unmarried children under 21. Immediate relatives may file residency petitions without delay.
If the sponsor is a U.S. Citizen, they may petition for the following foreign national relatives to immigrate to the U.S:
• Husband or wife;
• Unmarried child under 21 years of age;
• Unmarried son or daughter over 21;
• Married son or daughter of any age;
• Brother or sister, if the sponsor is at least 21 years old, or;
• Parent, if the sponsor is at least 21 years old.
If the sponsor is a lawful permanent resident, they may petition for the following foreign national relatives to immigrate to the U.S:
• Husband or wife, or;
• Unmarried son or daughter of any age.
Other relatives, apart from "immediate relatives", must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available according to the following categories:
• First Preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. Adult means 21 years of age or older.
• Second Preference: Spouses of lawful permanent residents, their unmarried children (under twenty-one), and the unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents.
• Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
• Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens. Wait times will vary according to the Visa Bulletin.
Our office represents individuals physically in the United States applying for permanent residence with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, as well as those who are abroad and applying for permanent residence at a U.S. consulate. We also represent applicants who are in removal proceedings before the Immigration Court, who are seeking to remain in the U.S. based on a family petition.
It is possible for the spouse of a Cuban national to apply for permanent residence under the Cuban Adjustment Act, if certain conditions are met.
Only immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, as well as spouses of Cuban nationals, have visas immediately available to them, in that there is no quota. This means that an immediate relative or spouse of a Cuban national can apply for permanent residence right away without having to "wait in line". All other categories of family-based immigrants must first file a petition, and then wait for the "priority date" to be reached before applying for permanent residence. This wait can be from 3 to 20 years, depending on the category and country of origin. The filing of a petition alone does not convey legal status to the beneficiary, so if the beneficiary is in the United States, he or she must maintain legal status independently of this process.