Family Based Green Cards
helps family members of U.S. citizens obtain green cards.
Shorstein, Lasnetski, & Gihon helps families get together and stay together. Whether a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident has a family member already on U.S. soil or abroad, we help find the best and fastest way to get or keep those family member in the U.S.
In most cases, a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident ("the petitioner") files a petition (supported by documentation and evidence) with USCIS on behalf of their non-citizen family member ("beneficiary"). If USCIS approves the petition, the non citizen family member may then apply for permanent residence at a U.S. consulate (if the non citizen family member is outside the U.S.) or apply to adjust status to become a lawful permanent resident with USCIS (if they are inside the U.S. on a visa) once their immigrant visa becomes current. Some family members will be able to apply for lawful permanent residence immediately upon approval of the petition. Others may have to wait many years.
Family members of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are treated differently depending on their relationship to the U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents of U.S. citizens are considered immediate relatives, and are immediately able to immigrate to the U.S. if they otherwise qualify.
Those family members that are not considered immediate relatives may still be eligible to immigrate to the U.S., however, there may be substantial waiting periods before the family member can actually become a lawful permanent resident. It is common for family members to have to wait for many years depending on their relationship to the U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident and which country they are currently a citizen.
Eligible family members include:
- Immediate Relatives -
- Spouse of a U.S. citizen,
- unmarried child of a U.S. citizen, if child is under 21, and
- parents of a U.S. citizen, if the U.S. citizen is 21 or older
- 1st Preference - Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens that are 21 and older
- 2nd Preference - Spouse & unmarried sons and daughters under 21 of permanent residents
- 3rd Preference - Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- 4th Preference - Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizen
Typically, the farther removed the non-citizen is from the U.S. citizen, the longer the wait time. For example, the unmarried son of a U.S. citizen will be able to enter the United States as a lawful permanent resident before the brother of a U.S. citizen. The wait times can be 10-15 years in some cases. Therefore, it is crucial to file the petition as quickly as possible to reserve your place in line.
The wait times are updated each month in a document called the Visa Bulletin. You can see the wait times here. They are different depending on the Preference category and where the non-citizen is from.
to file your family based petition at