Contact a Family Immigration Lawyer for Applying for U.S. Residency / Green Card for a Family Member
- What Is a Family Green Card/Family Residency Process in the U.S.?
- What Family Members are Eligible to Obtain a Family Green Card in the US and How Long are the Estimated Wait Periods for a Green Card?
- What is the duration of a Family Residency?
- Renewability of a Family Green Card
- Family Benefits of a U.S. Residency
- What Documentation Do I Need for the for a U.S. Family Residency?
- What is the Process to Obtain a Family Green Card/Residency?
- What are the U.S. Immigration Service Filing Fees?
- What are the Legal Fees to Petition for a Family Residency?
- Video on Residency for Step Children
- Newsletter on Family Green Card/Residency Petitions and Estimated Wait Periods (April 2014)
- Where can I Get more Information on Green Cards for families of U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents?
Family Based Visa Petitions – Who Can You File For?
Watch this video from Boston Family Immigration Attorney Desmond P. FitzGerald to learn about green cards for family members or family based visa petitions in the U.S.
What Is a Family Residency/Green Card Process in the US?
This is the process by which U.S. citizens and permanent residents can request that permanent residency be granted for their immediate family members (spouses, parents, children, brothers and sisters), given that they can demonstrate that they can financially support them in the U.S.
What Family Members are Eligible to Obtain Family Residency in the US and How Long are the Estimated Wait Periods for a Family based Green Card?
There are two categories of family immigration petitions: relatives of U.S. citizens and relatives of legal permanent residents.
Residency for Relatives of U.S. Citizens
US citizens may file family based immigration petitions on behalf of the following family members: (the wait times are for applications filed in the US Consular Processes may require additional waiting time and procedures)
- Spouse: 6-12 months wait period (however, work permit and travel authorization is granted within 60 – 90 days from filing for the applications if eligible for adjustment of status);
- Parent: 8-12 months wait period (however, work permit and travel authorization is granted within 60 – 90 days from filing for the applications if eligible for adjustment of status);
- Unmarried children under 21 years of age (including step children): 6-12 months wait period (however, work permit and travel authorization is granted within 60 – 90 days from filing for work authorization if eligible for adjustment of status). Children under 18 years old at the time the Legal Permanent Resident status is granted may be eligible for automatic U.S. citizenship.
- Children over 21 years of age (including step children): 7-8 years wait period
- Married children (including step children): 10-12 years wait period
- Siblings (brothers and sisters): 12-13 years wait period
Residency (Green Card) for Relatives of U.S. Legal Permanent Residents
US Legal Permanent Residents may file family based immigration petitions on behalf of the following family members: (the wait times are for applications filed in US, Consular Processes may require additional waiting time and procedures)
- Spouse: 7 months to 2 years wait period
- Unmarried child under 21 (including step children): 7 months to 2 years wait period
- Unmarried child over 21 (including step children): 8-9 years wait period
**The estimated wait times are based on our experience and the US Visa Bulletin. They are subject to change depending on the location and volume of cases handled by a particular U.S. Immigration Service center. U.S. Residency/Green Card Petitions for immigrants from China, India, Mexico and the Philippines generally take longer than the estimated times above (see Visa Bulletin for those estimates).
Once permanent residency is approved it will remain valid as long as the person continues to reside the majority of the time in the U.S. and complies with the legal conditions for U.S. legal permanent residency.
U.S. legal permanent residency status never expires as long as you continue to meet the U.S. residency eligibility conditions as stated in your residency application. However, the green card (or evidence of permanent residency) expires every 10 years and it is recommended that it be renewed six months before expiration. An experienced family immigration attorney can help with the renewal process of a family green card or marriage green card.
Family Benefits of a U.S. Residency
The immediate family of the applicant may be eligible to obtain U.S. permanent residency with all its benefits, at the same time the applicant receives it. Permanent residency allows all family members to live, study and/or work legally in the U.S.
What Documentation Do I Need for the for a U.S. Family Green Card/Residency?
1. Birth certificate (copy of original and translated if original is not in English) for:
- Alien (Beneficiary)
- Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident (Petitioner)
2. Marriage certificate (if applying for spouse or children). Copy of original and translated if original is not in English
3. Copy of Citizen’s or Legal Permanent resident’s tax Returns for the last 3 years
4. Copy of letter from Citizen’s or Legal Permanent resident’s employer stating:
- Date of hire
- Position held
- Oldest; and
- Most recent.
6. Passport size photographs on white background
- One photo of Citizen
- 2 photos of Alien
7. Copy of Alien’s passport
8. Copy of Alien’s U.S. Visa and I-94 form (if alien already in the U.S.)
What is the Process to Obtain a Family Green Card/Residency?
There are three different procedures depending upon the status of the petitioner, their relationship with the beneficiary and individual circumstances of the applicants. Navigating through each stage requires the skill and guidance of an experienced family immigration lawyer. Read more on the Family Green Card/Residency process.
You will need to pay the filing fees for forms (I-130), (I-485), (fingerprints), if applicable the penalty fee for (I-485A), and the I-765 fee if work authorization is desired. Click on the link below to verify the U.S. Immigration Service fees for these forms as these change regularly:
USCIS filing fees
What are the Legal Fees to Petition for a Marriage Residency/Family Residency?
Where Can I Get More Information on Green Cards for families of U.S. Citizens & Legal Permanent Residents?