In the United States, there is an established process for obtaining a green card for family members. The green card is a grant of permanent residency, allowing family members to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely.
It is important to understand that not every family member can be sponsored for residency. You should understand the different categories of family members whom you can sponsor for a green card.
Immediate relatives are the closest family members to U.S. citizens and have unlimited visas available. This category includes spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21 years of age. There is no waiting period for immediate relatives to U.S. citizens, unlike the family preference categories.
Family preference categories
The Family Preference Categories apply to the families of lawful permanent residents and more distant family members of U.S. citizens. These categories include:
- F1 – Unmarried children (21 years of age and older) of U.S. citizens
- F2A – Spouses and children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of lawful permanent residents
- F2B – Unmarried children (21 years of age and older) of lawful permanent residents
- F3 – Married children of U.S. citizens
- F4 – Siblings of adult U.S. citizens
These categories may have lengthy waiting periods due to annual visa quotas and the high demand for family-sponsored green cards.
Proof of relationship
To sponsor a family member for a green card, you must provide substantial evidence of your relationship. This can include birth certificates, marriage certificates, and proof of legal status in the United States. This evidence must demonstrate the authenticity of your familial bond to the immigration authorities.
About 80% of green cards issued by the United States each year come through either the family or employment routes. If your qualifying loved one wishes to come into the country and secure their green card, your sponsorship could be the most effective route for them.