Family-based Immigration

Family-based Immigration


It is when a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder) adjusts the status of a relative with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) so they can immigrate to the United States.


Immediate relatives: Immediate relatives are considered spouses, children under 21 years old who are unmarried, and parents of the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident petitioner. These relatives are prioritized and there are no yearly quotas or limits on the amount of immediate relatives that can be granted lawful permanent residence status.

Other relatives: U.S. citizens can petition for some relatives that aren’t considered immediate. These relatives include unmarried children over 21 years old, married children of any age, and siblings if the U.S citizen is over 21 years old. Permanent residents cannot petition for married children, siblings, or parents.


The requirements vary depending on whether the relative is immediate or not and whether the relative is in the U.S. or not; however, all relatives must be eligible to receive an immigrant visa and must be admissible to the U.S. for permanent residence.

Immediate relatives in the U.S. : U.S. citizens can petition for immediate relatives and apply to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident at the same time if the immediate relative is in the U.S. and a visa is available. Visas are immediately available for immediate relatives. In addition, the immediate relative must have been inspected or paroled into the U.S. Immediate relatives are exempt from the requirements to maintain lawful immigration status and not to work without employment authorization.

Other relatives in the U.S.: Once a petition is approved, a relative who does not fall into the immediate category may apply to adjust status to permanent resident when a visa becomes available. The relative must have been inspected or paroled into the U.S., maintained lawful immigration status, and not have worked without employment authorization.

Relatives not in the U.S.: U.S. citizens can petition for relatives outside the U.S. and once that petition is approved the relative must pursue an immigrant visa through U.S. Consular processing.

NEXT: Investment Immigration