Application Process: Green Card (Permanent Residence)
To petition for a family member to receive a green card (permanent residence), we will send you a questionnaire and list of needed documents. Shortly after your completing the questionnaire we will send you drafts of the documents and a list of doctors your family member will have to choose from to have a medical exam.
Spouses of deceased U.S. permanent residents (widows and widowers) may also be eligible to become permanent residents. See the “Widow(er)” page on our complete law firm website.
The term “immediate relative(s)” is used to define certain immigrant relatives of U.S. citizens. Immediate relatives include:
- Spouses of U.S. citizens
- Children (unmarried and under 21) of U.S. citizens
- Parents of U.S. citizens (The petitioning citizen must be 21 or older.)
For immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, visas are always available, which means that your family member does not need to wait in line for a visa. Immediate relatives who are in the United States we can concurrently file the petition for alien relative and application to adjust status. For more information on how your relative can apply to adjust status (i.e. get a green card) while he or she is in the United States, see the “Family” section of our website.
Preference categories apply to family members who are not immediate relatives. The visas alloted for these categories are subject to annual numerical limits. A visa becomes available to a preference category based on the priority date (the date the Form I-130 was filed). Preference categories are grouped as follows:
- First preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (adult means 21 or older.)
- Second Preference (2A): Spouses of green card holders, unmarried children (under 21) of permanent residents
- Second Preference (2B): Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents
- Third Preference: Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens
- Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens
For current wait times, see the “USCIS Processing Time Information” page on immigration’s website and the “Visa Bulletin” page on the U.S. Department of State website. For more information on priority dates, see the “Visa Availability and Priority Dates” page.
What Happens Next?
If your relative is already in the United States, he or she may apply to adjust status to become a green card holder (permanent resident) after a visa number becomes available.
If your relative is outside the United States, your petition will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will forward your petition to the appropriate U.S. consulate when a visa becomes available and your relative will be notified about how to proceed. This process is referred to as “Consular Processing.”
Your family member’s preference category will determine how long he or she will have to wait for an immigrant visa number. Once you have filed a petition, you can check its progress the “My Case Status” page. For visa availability information, see the “Visa Bulletin” page on the U.S. Department of State website.
For more information on becoming a green card holder, or “Consular Processing” (for processing overseas) pages please contact our office.
Members of the Military
If you or a member of your family is in the U.S. military, special conditions may apply. Please contact our office.
Immigration is a very specialized area of law; so, be sure your attorney focuses his or her practice on immigration and getting green cards. We focus our practice on immigration law and you can reach us at 513-793-6555 or Thomasjr@geygan.com. We will gently walk you through the process and aggressively fight for your legal rights.