Family Based Green Cards are the primary avenue to attain lawful U.S. permanent residency. U.S. citizens and permanent residents can sponsor family members, opening the door to legal permanent residency in the United States. Applying for permanent residency also grants eligibility for an employment authorization document (commonly known as a “work permit”), allowing work in the United States while awaiting the final decision on the green card application.

Typically, those aspiring to immigrate to the United States must have a USCIS-approved petition before applying for a green card. For family-based green cards, a relative, either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident (known as “the sponsor”), must file a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Unlimited Family Based Green Cards for Immediate Relatives

Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens: These green cards stem from close family ties with a U.S. citizen in the United States, such as spouses, children, and parents. U.S. citizens can also sponsor adopted children meeting the definition of an orphan under immigration law. The waiting period for these applicants is approximately six to twelve months.

Limited Family Based Green Cards

These green cards involve specific and more distant family relationships with U.S. citizens and specific relationships with Lawful U.S. Permanent Residents. U.S. immigration law imposes fiscal year limitations on family preference immigrants:

  • Family First Preference (F1) – Unmarried children of U.S. citizens and their children (if any). (23,400 visas per year).
  • Family Second Preference (F2) – Spouses, minor and unmarried children (over the age of 20) of lawful U.S. permanent residents. (114,200 visas per year). About eighty percent of these visas go to spouses and children, with the remainder for unmarried sons and daughters.
  • Family Third Preference (F3) – Married children of U.S. citizens and their children and spouses. (23,400 visas per year).
  • Family Fourth Preference (F4) – Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, along with their children and spouses, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years old. (65,000 visas per year).

Note that grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and in-laws cannot sponsor foreign relatives for family-based green cards.

Can Foreigners Obtain Family Based Green Cards While Outside the U.S.?

Foreign immediate relatives of U.S. citizens seeking family-based green cards from outside the country can pursue permanent residency through consular processing. This collaborative process between USCIS and the Department of State issues a green card upon Form I-130 approval. Once granted, you can travel to the U.S. and become a permanent resident upon arrival.

Seek Guidance from a Jurado & Associates, P.A. Immigration Lawyer

At Jurado & Associates, P.A., our adept Immigration Lawyers specialize in family-based green cards. We approach clients with compassion, professionalism, and tailored services, dedicating the necessary time to understand their unique needs. Our family-based green card specialists possess comprehensive knowledge of the processes and documents crucial for a successful application.

We strive to minimize delays, providing clients with the best chance of obtaining the green cards they desire. Join our growing list of satisfied clients. To explore how we can assist in family-based green card applications, contact our experienced attorneys for an initial consultation at (305) 921-0976 or via email at [email protected].