Green Cards Through Family Ties

Green Cards Through Family Ties

Immediate versus non immediate relatives

Green cards are immediately available (subject to the required petition being approved) for certain ‘immediate relatives’ of US citizens. A spouse of an US citizen is considered an immediate relative.

‘Non immediate relatives’ of US citizens or Green card holders are subject to annual quotas and as such are subject to often  lengthy delays before they obtain their green card. These delays typically last over 4 years and even much longer. A spouse of a green card holder is considered a ‘non immediate relative.

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Note: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.


Spouse or Minor Child of a U.S. Citizen

An immigrant visa may only be processed for a child if he/she has no claim to U.S. citizenship

Parent of a U.S. Citizen

U.S. citizen must be 21 or over

Step-parent or child of a U.S. Citizen

Step-parent, step-child relationship must occur before the child’s 18th birthday

Spouse of a deceased U.S. citizen

Petition must be filed within 2 years of the death of the U.S. citizen


Persons seeking to immigrate in one of the family based preference categories will qualify for immigrant status only if they have the necessary relationship to a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident as described below.

Unmarried Son or Daughter over the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen
Spouse or Unmarried Son or Daughter of a Lawful Permanent Resident
Married Son or Daughter of a U.S. Citizen
Brother or Sister of a U.S. Citizen

U.S. citizen must be 21 or over


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