Who Is Eligible To Receive A Family-Based Green Card Or Visa To The United States?


Child: an unmarried person under 21 years of age

For immigration purposes, a child can be any of the following:

  • A genetic child born in wedlock
  • A genetic child born out of wedlock:
  • If the mother is petitioning, no legitimation is required.
  • If the father is petitioning, legitimation is required in accordance with the laws of the father or child’s place of residence.
  • If the father is petitioning and the relationship is not legitimated under applicable laws, a bona fide parent-child relationship must be shown to have existed prior to the child’s 21st birthday and while the child was unmarried.
  • A child born through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to a non-genetic gestational mother who is recognized under the law of the relevant jurisdiction as the child’s legal parent at the time of the child’s birth.
  • A step-child, as long as the marriage creating the step-relationship occurred before the child turned 18
  • An adopted child if the child was adopted before age 16 (or before their 18th birthday, if certain circumstances described on the Adoption-Based Family Petition Process or Adoption-Based Form I-130 Processpage apply), AND the adoptive parent has satisfied 2-year legal custody and joint residence requirements. (The legal custody and joint residence do not have to be during the same time period, but each must be met for a cumulative 2-year period.) NOTE: Most adoption-based immigration occurs through the orphan or Hague If you are considering pursuing the Adoption-Based Form I-130 Process, you should review certain eligibility considerations. See the Adoption pages for more information.

Son or Daughter: a person who is married or is 21 years of age or older

Parent: include biological/step-parent. See INA §101(b)(2)

If you are a U.S. Citizen, you can petition for the following individuals:

Immediate Relatives

  • Spouse of US Citizen
  • Unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. Citizen or
  • Parent of a US Citizen (if US Citizen is 21 years of age or older)

Preference Category

First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

If you have a Green Card, you can petition for the following individuals:

Preference Category

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

  1. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
  2. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.

What Constitutes “Family” When Applying For A Family-Based Visa?

  • Parent
  • Spouse
  • Children
  • US Citizen Sibling

I Am A US Citizen And I Have Been Told That My Spouse Who Is Undocumented Will Have To Leave The US To Obtain A Green Card. Why?

Your spouse did not make a legal entry into US meaning admitted or paroled and therefore needs to consular process do interview at US Consulate/Embassy in their home country they are inadmissible for purposes of green card so need to also seek waiver. Only individuals who made legal entry into U.S. can Adjust Status and get green card in United States.

Can My US Citizen Son Or Daughter Petition For Me?

Yes, if they are 21 years of age or older.

My Priority Date Was Current Last Month, But Not This Month. What Happened?

Internal matter with USCIS; shorter staff; supply and demand, the more people start the application process to immigrate to the US, the longer the waiting list gets but sometimes, so many people apply after a certain Priority Date is published that the State Department gets overwhelmed, and needs to put on the brakes. It does this by moving the Priority Date in that particular visa category backward; retrogression.

My US Citizen Sibling Petitioned For Me Many Years Ago And A Visa Is Now Available For Me. Can My Spouse And Children Apply For A Green Card With Me?

As a U.S. citizen, over age 21 and residing in the U.S. you may file an I-130 petition to bring your brothers and sisters to the United States for permanent residence. Once your petition for your sibling is approved, they can bring a spouse and any unmarried children under age 21.

If you were married and/or had children who did not obtain permanent residence at the same time you did, they may be eligible for follow-to-join benefits. This means that you do not have to submit a separate Form I-130 for your spouse and/or children. In addition, your spouse and/or children will not have to wait any extra time for a visa number to become available. In this case, you may simply notify a U.S. consulate that you are a permanent resident so that your spouse and/or children can apply for an immigrant visa. Your spouse and/or children may be eligible for following-to-join benefits if:

  • The relationship existed at the time you became a permanent resident and still exists, AND
  • You received an immigrant visa or adjusted status in a preference category

I Was A Legal Permanent Resident When I Filed An I-130 Family Petition For A Family Member, But Now I Am A US Citizen, What Should I Do?

If you filed a petition for your spouse when you were a lawful permanent resident (LPR), and you are now a U.S. citizen, you must upgrade the petition from family second preference (F2) to immediate relative (IR). You can do this by sending proof of your U.S. citizenship to the National Visa Center (NVC). You should send: A copy of the biodata page of your U.S. passport; or A copy of your certificate of naturalization

For more information on Eligibility For Family-Based Green Card/Visa, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (817) 532-5666 today.