Family Sponsored Immigration


Family Sponsored Immigration
An individual can become a permanent resident if he/she has a relative who is a U.S. Citizen or a legal permanent resident. There are two categories of obtaining a green card through family members: limited and unlimited.

Unlimited Family Sponsored Immigration
Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents do not have to wait for a visa number; the only requirement is an approved visa petition from United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Immediate relatives include:

  • Spouses of U.S. Citizens
  • Minor Children (under 21) of U.S. Citizens
  • Parents of U.S. Citizens (if U.S. Citizen is over 21)

Limited Family Sponsored Immigration
Relatives of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents must wait for an immigrant visa to become available. The preference categories for visa numbers are as follows.

First Preference: Unmarried sons & daughters of U.S. citizens (any age)

Second Preference: Spouses & unmarried children of legal permanent residents

Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens

Fourth Preference: Sons & daughters of U.S. citizens

Derivative Beneficiaries: The spouse or children of the principal individual under the family sponsored preferences.


Consular processing allows for individuals who are abroad and are a beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition to apply for permanent residency (green card) in the U.S. from a U.S. consulate abroad.


  1. Determine which category of immigration you fit in.
  2. Have an immigrant petition filed on your behalf: Family-based, Employment-based, Special immigration cases, or through Humanitarian Programs.
  3. Wait for a decision on your petition.
  4. Wait for Notification from the National Visa Center.
  5. Go to your appointment.
  6. Notify the National Visa Center of any changes.
  7. Visa is Granted.
  8. Receive your Green Card.

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