Family-Based Immigrant Petitions


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An immigrant petition can be filed to sponsor certain family members of U.S Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents.

An immigrant visa or green permanent resident card is readily available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, which for U.S. immigration purposes includes spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older.

For other qualifying relatives, the availability of immigrant visas or green cards depends upon the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Bulletin, which issues monthly updates with the Dates for Filing and Final Action Dates for each type of relative, referred to as “preference categories,” based upon when the U.S. citizen or permanent resident filed an immigrant petition which was ultimately approved for that relative.

Qualifying relatives subject to the annual preference category limitations include:

  • For U.S. Citizens, their unmarried children over the age of 21, married children, and brothers and sisters.
  • For U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, their spouses and unmarried children.
It’s important to note that an approvable immigrant petition must be filed in order to establish a “place in line.” Consider filing a petition even if there appears to be a lengthy backlog, as this can create an additional future option for family members to activate if other U.S. immigration strategies are not viable.

Once approved and subject to availability, the qualifying relative can apply for an adjustment of status to permanent resident from within the United States or consular immigrant visa process through a U.S. Consulate abroad, as appropriate.


The above is informational and not intended to be legal advice. Please consult with an experienced business immigration attorney on your specific facts and circumstances before proceeding with any U.S. immigration strategy.