Immigration and Nationality
Family Based Immigrant Petitions

Before one applies for a
green card, one must first be approved for a preference classification either through family or employment sponsorship.  For family based petitions, a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident may submit an I130 immigrant petitions on behalf of certain family members.  The preference classification for the beneficiary family member will depend on his or her relationship to the sponsoring US citizen or lawful permanent resident.

Unlimited Family Members

spouse, widow(er), children under 21 of a United States citizen, and parents of a United States citizen over the age of 21, are not subject to the preference classification system, and thus are immediately able to apply for a green card upon the approval of the I130 petition.  The requirements and procedures for spouses of United States citizens applying for a green card are different from those for the children and parents of United States citizens.

The following are the different preference categories for family based immigrant petitions.

First Preference

This classification is available for
unmarried sons or daughters of a United States citizen.

Second Preference

This category is divided between
spouses and children of lawful permanent residents (2A), and unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age or older) of lawful permanent residents (2B)

Third Preference

Married sons and daughters of United States citizens comprise this classification.

Fourth Preference

The final classification is designated for
brothers and sisters of adult United States citizens.

Immigrant Visa Availability (Priority Dates)

If a beneficiary family memberís I130 petition for preference classification is approved, he or she must wait until the priority date becomes current before applying for a green card.  The priority date is generally the date on which the I130 petition was filed.

The United States Department of State issues a monthly
Visa Bulletin that notes what priority dates are current for each classification.  If the family memberís priority date is the same or precedes the date noted on the Visa Bulletin for the designated preference classification, the family member may then apply for a green card.

If you would like to discuss potential strategies for obtaining a green card, please contact us.
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