Green Card for Relatives or Spouse
Only US Citizens who are at least 21 years old can petition for a green card for their relatives.
Immediate Relatives of a US Citizen (Unlimited Immigrant Visas)
Parents, husband/wife, and unmarried children under the age of 21, of U.S. citizens
In terms of U.S. immigration, the spouse is considered an immediate relative. Immediate relatives include parents, husband/wife, and unmarried children under the age of 21, of a U.S. citizen. The process of applying for a green card for green cards for “immediate relatives” is fast, because they do not have numeric visa limitations on the number of immigrant visas that may be issued every year for them. Immediate relatives are part of a different immigration category and they do not have to wait for a visa number to become available. In general, they can obtain a green card in a period within 1 or 2 years approximately.
1. Spouse (Wife or Husband)
2. Unmarried Children, including Step and Adoptive Children, under the age of 21
3. Parents (Father and Mother)
Family Preference Category (Limited Immigrant Visas)
US Citizen Relatives: Brother, sisters, and adult or married sons or daughters, including their spouses and their minor children under 21 years of age.
Green Card Holder Relatives: Spouses, minor children, and adult unmarried sons and daughters.
First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children.
Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of Green Card holders.
Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
Note: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents in law, and cousins, cannot sponsor a relative for U.S. immigration.
The green card application process takes much longer for other relatives like a brother, sisters, and adult or married sons or daughters of U.S. citizens, because they are part of the “family preference category” that has a numeric visa limitation per year, and they need to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available.
Green Card for Relatives or Spouse (not US citizens) also takes longer due to numeric visa limitations. The U.S. government only allows a certain number of this type of immigrants per year, and for this reason, this process can take several years.