Who Is Eligible For A Family-Based Green Card?

There are various relatives of US citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) living in different corners of the world. Therefore, the US has come up with different ways to apply for a green card. Uniting people living in the US is an important goal of immigration law. However, that does not mean all kinds of relatives can come. 

The US immigration law is quite strict about which family members are eligible to apply for a green card and which ones are not. Therefore, only people who are in that specific category will be allowed. A Dallas family immigration lawyer can guide you through the step-by-step process and reunite you with your family. 

Which family members can apply for a green card?

There is no limit on the number of green cards the US issues every year for the immediate relatives of US citizens. They can also enjoy the privilege of not having to wait on the waiting list, unlike others. Immediate relatives of a person can be one of the following. 

  • Spouses of US citizens
  • Recent widows and widowers
  • Same-sex couples (only if their marriage is legal in their native country or state)
  • Unmarried people of at least 21 years of age who have at least one parent in the US
  • Parents of a US citizen, given that their son or daughter is at least 21 years old
  • Stepchildren and stepparents, if the marriage took place before the children turned 18
  • Parents and children related through adoption, given that the adoption took place before the child turned 16.

All the visas mentioned above are known as immediate visas. They do not have an annual limit, unlike other types of visas. This is because US immigration wants to unite close family members in Dallas as soon as possible. Therefore, regardless of the number of people who have applied before you, you will be able to get a green card if you meet the requirements. 

Family preference immigrant visas

Some other family members are also eligible for a green card. However, they may have to wait for long periods, and the number of green cards available for them is also limited. You may have to wait for several years, according to their place in the preference category.

  1. F1: Unmarried people with at least one parent in the US.
  2. F2: Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents. 
  3. F3: Married people of any age with at least one parent in the US. 
  4. F4: Sisters and brothers of US citizens who are over 21 years old.