Green Card Through a U.S. Citizen Relative
Certain qualified relatives of a U.S. Citizen can petition to become a permanent resident. The application process can start either inside or outside of the United States. The eligibility of a U.S. Citizen’s relative extends to:
- Unmarried (never married, divorced, or widowed) child under the age of 21
- Parent of a U.S. Citizen over the age of 21
- Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen
- Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. Citizen
Unlike immigrants of other categories, the number of visas available to immediate relatives of a U.S. Citizen are unlimited. This means that they enjoy a special immigration priority and do not need to wait in line for a visa to become available to them.
As mentioned earlier, the petition process for an immediate relative of a U.S. Citizen can start either inside or outside the United States. During the petition process, the U.S. Citizen is called a petitioner, and the immediate relative is called a beneficiary.
Inside the United States:
If the beneficiary is inside the United States, the petitioner has to file a Petition for Alien Relative, while the beneficiary needs to submit an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
Both of the forms need to be filed in order to obtain permanent residency for the beneficiary. The forms may be filed together or separately. If filed separately, the Petition for Alien Relative must be filed first. As long as the petition is not denied, the beneficiary may file an Application to Register Permanent Residence.
After the Petition for Alien Relative is filed, a Notice of Action will be sent to the beneficiary indicating that additional actions are required. The Notice will give you a list of missing documents in order to complete the process, the Application to Register Permanent Residence will be on the list.
The beneficiary will then receive a notice of biometrics appointment, where he or she will have to go to a designated USCIS center for finger printing and photographing.
If an application for work permit and an application for traveling documents (or advanced parole) has been requested along with the application to register permanent residence, the beneficiary should receive these temporary permits within 90 days.
After all of the above steps are completed, the beneficiary will then receive a notice of in person interview. Both the petitioner and the beneficiary will have to attend the interview.
Outside the United States:
If the beneficiary is outside the United States, the process will have to be done through a Consulate of the Untied States. The process is called the consular processing, in this case, the Department of State will issue a visa (when it becomes available) to a pre-approved beneficiary. Beneficiaries are pre-approved when the petitioner’s Petition for Alien Relative is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The beneficiary will then travel to the United States with the visa, and will officially become a permanent resident when admitted through any port of entry.
The Department of State will send notification to the beneficiary when a visa becomes available. The petition will be terminated if the beneficiary does not apply for an immigrant visa within one year of the notification.
For more information regarding application outside of the United States, please visit the “Consular Processing” link.