The Family-Based Green Card Process
To get a family-based Green Card, a foreign national must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card holder). Only certain family members are eligible.
U.S. citizens may sponsor the following family members:
- Parent (mother or father)
- Sibling (brother or sister)
Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) may sponsor their:
Getting a family-based Green Card is a two-step process. The first step is the "Immigrant Petition" which establishes that a qualifying relationship exists between the U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident and the Green Card applicant. The second step is the Green Card application. If the sponsor is a U.S. citizen and the Green Card applicant is a spouse, parent or minor child who is currently in the U.S., then these two steps can usually be combined into one. Otherwise, applicants must wait for the Immigrant Petition to be approved before they can move on to the Green Card application.