Family Based Green Cards


Permanent residency through a family member is one way of obtaining a green card. Due to the huge amount of applicants and statutory annual limits, waiting times for a green card can last many years.

There is no waiting time for immediate relatives of US citizens. Those include a spouse, unmarried children under 21 and parents. Please take a look at the visa bulletin (available on our website) in order to estimate how long your wait will be.


Who can petition for a green card:


I.       US citizen can petition:

    1. Husband or wife;
    2. Father or mother;
    3. Unmarried child under 21 years of age;
    4. Unmarried son or daughter 21 or older;
    5. Married son or daughter;
    6. Brother or sister, provided that the US citizen petitioner is at least 21 years old.


II.    Permanent resident can petition: 

    1. Husband or wife;
    2. Unmarried child under 21 years of age;
    3. Unmarried child 21 or older.


Additional information:

Why are the waiting times for my green card?

Immigration law divides family based petitions into two categories: immediate relatives and preference categories. Categories names are counterintuitive because immediate relatives can apply for their green cards without waiting whereas preference categories must wait in lines. Immigration law sets annual limit of green cards which can be issued during any fiscal year in a given preference category. The more applicants apply the longer the wait. On the other hand, immediate relatives of a US citizen are not subject to such limits and can apply for their green cards right away.


Visa Bulletin

Every month US Department of States publishes a Visa Bulletin which sets cutoff dates for preference categories. Those cut off dates are the Priority Dates that each sponsored immigrant has. Priority Date is a date when our sponsorship started. USCIS issues green cards based on the Visa Bulletin and the Priority Dates.


Priority Date

Our place in the waiting line for our green card is called Priority Date. Priority Date is the date when we had our sponsorship started. USCIS can only issue green cards to those whose Priority Date is before the cutoff date listed in the Visa Bulletin.


The above information is not legal advice. In order to obtain legal advice, please contact immigration attorney Marcin Muszynski.

112B Nassau Avenue; Brooklyn, NY 11222
tel. (718) 389-7580
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150 Broadway, #1920; New York, NY 10038
tel. (718) 389-7580