In the United States, the most common way of obtaining immigration benefits is through an immigrant Visa (Green Card) petition filed by a relative that is either a U.S. Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident.
U.S. Citizens can sponsor a spouse, parent, a married or unmarried child, or a sibling to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States and obtain a Green Card. Except in the case of a spouse, the U.S. Citizen petitioners must be at least 21 years old to file an immigration petition for a relative. A U.S. Citizen can also file an immigrant Visa petitions for a Fiancée.
A Green Card holder can only sponsor a spouse or unmarried children.
Petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are not subject to numerical limitations. Immediate relatives include:
- Spouse of a U.S. citizen (if the marriage is less than 2 years old, the immigrant spouse will be granted a Conditional Green Card)
- Minor Children of a U.S. citizen
- Parents of a U.S. citizen
Petitions for other relatives of U.S. Citizens and petitions filed by Green Card holders are subject to numerical limitations, and divided in the following categories:
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