Family-Based Green Cards

/ Family based

Family-based green cards, also known as family-sponsored green cards, are one of the primary ways individuals can obtain lawful permanent residency (a green card) in the United States. These green cards are granted to foreign nationals based on their family relationships with U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (green card holders).


What are Family Preference Categories?

Family-sponsored green cards are divided into several preference categories, each of which corresponds to a specific family relationship with a U.S. citizen or green card holder. The main categories include:

  • Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens: these include spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents of adult U.S. citizens. Immediate relatives do not have to wait for visa numbers to become available and typically have shorter processing times.
  • Family First Preference (F1): unmarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
  • Family Second Preference (F2A and F2B): F2A includes spouses and unmarried children (under 21) of green card holders. F2B includes unmarried adult sons and daughters of green card holders.
  • Family Third Preference (F3): married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
  • Family Fourth Preference (F4): brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens.

What is the initial step in the petitioning process?

The process typically begins with a U.S. citizen or green card holder filing a family-based immigrant petition on behalf of their qualifying family member. The petitioner must demonstrate the qualifying relationship through documentation.

What is Visa Bulletin?

Family-sponsored green cards are subject to annual numerical limits, which means that there may be waiting periods before visa numbers become available for certain preference categories. The Visa Bulletin, issued monthly by the U.S. Department of State, provides information on visa availability for each category. The filing date of the immigrant petition establishes the “priority date“ which is used to determine when a visa number becomes available.

Do I need to go through the Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status?

The process for obtaining a family-based green card may involve either consular processing or adjustment of status, depending on the beneficiary's location. Consular processing occurs at a U.S. embassy or consulate in the beneficiary's home country, while adjustment of status is a process conducted within the United States.

  • Consular Processing: if the beneficiary is outside the United States, they will attend an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. If the interview is successful, they will be granted an immigrant visa, which allows them to enter the United States as a lawful permanent resident;
  • Adjustment of Status: if the beneficiary is already in the United States and eligible for adjustment of status, they can apply for a green card without leaving the country. This process typically involves submitting Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, attending a biometrics appointment, and attending an in-person interview with USCIS.

How can Kananchuk Law Office help with family-based Green Cards?

Our experienced immigration attorney can help you understand the specific requirements and documentation needed for your case and can provide personalized guidance based on your unique circumstances.

Schedule your consultation today to discuss how we can help unite your family.

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