Family of Green Card Holders (Permanent Residents)

As a green card holder (permanent resident), you may petition for certain family members to immigrate to the United States as permanent residents.

Petition the Following Family Members:

  • Spouse(husband or wife)
  • Unmarried children under 21
  • Unmarried son or daughter of any age


To obtain a green card for your family member, you must:
  • Provide proof of your status to demonstrate that you are a permanent resident.
  • Submit evidence of the qualifying relationship such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc. See the form instructions for specific documents required.
  • Submit proof of any legal name change for you or your family member.
If you or a member of your family is in the U.S. military special conditions may apply to your situation.

Preference Categories

When petitioning for your relative, the following preference categories apply:
  • First preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. (Adult means 21 or older)
  • Second Preference (2A): Spouses of green card holders, unmarried children (under 21) of permanent residents
  • Second Preference (2B): Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents
  • Third Preference: Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens
A visa becomes available to a preference category according to the priority date (the date the I-130 was filed).

Next Steps

  • If your relative is already in the United States legally, he or she may apply to adjust status to become a permanent resident after a visa number becomes available.
  • If your relative is outside the United States, your petition will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will forward your petition to the appropriate U.S. consulate when a visa becomes available.
  • Your family member’s preference category will determine how long they will have to wait for an immigrant visa number