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When may my family members apply for a U.S. green card?

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2022 | Immigration, Naturalization

After settling into a new job and a home in the U.S., you may begin thinking about bringing your family here to live with you. When you have established permanent residency or obtained U.S. citizenship, your spouse may apply for a green card.

As noted on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, your children may also apply for residency. U.S. law, however, prioritizes the way in which an immigrant’s family members may apply.

How do the four immigration preference categories affect family green card applications?

The U.S. has four categories that prioritize which family members may qualify for a green card. The first, third and fourth preferences require you to have U.S. citizenship before your family members may apply.

If you received your U.S. citizenship, the first preference category allows your unmarried daughters and sons to apply for a green card. They must have proof of reaching the age of 21. U.S. law sets its third preference on the married daughters and sons of U.S. citizens. The fourth preference category accepts green card applications from the sisters and brothers of U.S. citizens who have reached the age of 21.

Which family members could apply for a green card if I have lawful permanent residency?

Lawful permanent U.S. residents may have their immediate family members join them based on the second preference immigration category. The second preference category allows your spouse and unmarried children of any age to apply for a green card.

If you are an immigrant living lawfully in the U.S., your family members may apply for green cards and join you. Obtaining your U.S. citizenship or establishing lawful permanent residency could determine who may qualify.