Uniting Family Members
Individual & Family-Based Immigration Services
Individuals & Families
Immigration for Foreign Relatives and U.S. Citizenship for Permanent Residents
Close relatives of U.S. citizens or green card holders may qualify for a family-based green card. These relatives include spouses, children, parents, and sibling (as well as some of their immediate family members). Widows or widowers who were married to a U.S. citizen when the citizen died may also qualify for a marriage-based green card.
Extended relatives would not be able to qualify for a family-based green card. These include grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles.
Application process for family-based immigration petition
The exact process may differ quite a bit depending on individual circumstances. But typically, there are two parts to every petition. The first part always starts by filing what is known as a Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. Documentary evidence will accompany the Form I-130 to help prove that relationship. Once that has been approved, the alien relative will need to obtain an adjustment of status (if they are in the United States) or apply for a green card at a U.S. consulate or embassy at their home country.
The adjustment of status application requires the filing of a Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence. In certain circumstances (when priority date is current for the alien relative) the Form I-485 and Form I-130 can be filed simultaneously to expedite the process. The reason this is faster is that the two petitions would be adjudicated at the same time rather than one after the other. This is one benefit to alien relatives who are residing in the United States.
Applying for a green card overseas require the filing of the DS-260 Immigrant Visa Electronic Application. This application is filed through an online system and will be submitted with additional civil documents related to the family member (some documents submitted with the Form I-130 may be requested again). The alien relative will then be notified of a date for the green card interview. Once that’s complete, they may prepare to enter the United States as a green card holder.
Step 1: The Form I-130 (Relationship between U.S. Petitioner and Alien Relative)
Step 2: The DS-260 or I-485 (Apply for Green Card overseas or in the United States)
Step 3: Attend the Green Card Interview
Spouses of U.S. Citizens & Green Card Holders
Spouses of U.S. citizens or green card holders may qualify for a green card through marriage. Similar to other family-based immigration petitions, the process starts with the filing of a Form I-130 which aims to establish the marital relationship. Here, you will need to provide biographical details about you and your spouse as well as documentation that show the authenticity of your marriage.
Other Family Members
Parents, Children, Siblings, Widows/Widowers
Green cards are available to other immediate family members of U.S. citizens or green card holders. Children, parents, siblings, widows/widowers can qualify for a green card through the family-based immigration process.
U.S. Citizenship for Green Card Holders
This is a process for immigrants to become a citizen of the United States. To naturalize into a U.S. citizen, you must been a U.S. green card holder for at least 3 to 5 years or have met certain military service requirements. There are many benefits in becoming a U.S. citizen; including, the ability to "expedite" the immigration process for your family members.