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Immediate Relatives (Spouse, Parent & Child under age 21) of U.S. Citizen

Immediate relatives have special immigration priority and do not have to wait in line for a visa number – visas are available immediately.

If your immediate relative is lawfully in the United States, he/she can apply for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident. The immediate relative is eligible to receive employment authorization while the adjustment of status petition is pending. Processing time is approximately 3-6 months.

If your immediate relative is currently outside the United States, then they can become a permanent resident through consular processing. Consular processing is when U.S. Citizenship & immigration Services works with the Department of State to issue a visa on an approved Form I-130 petition when a visa is available. You may then travel on the visa and will officially become a permanent resident when admitted at a U.S. port of entry.

Preference Category

Immigrant visa numbers for individuals in a “preference category” are limited, so are not always available. Because the demand is higher than the supply of visas for a given year for some categories, a visa queue (waiting list) forms. To distribute the visas among all preference categories, the Department of State gives out the visas by providing visa numbers according to the preference category and one’s priority date. For family sponsored immigration, the priority date is the date that the petition is properly filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The family-sponsored preferences are:

  1. unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
  2. spouses, children, and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent resident aliens;
  3. married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
  4. brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.

For current visa availability, please CLICK HERE view current visa bulletin.

Conditional Permanent Resident

Your permanent residence status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than 2 years old on the day you were given permanent residence. You are given conditional resident status on the day you are lawfully admitted to the United States on an immigrant visa or adjustment of your status to permanent residence.

If your status is conditional, you must remove these conditions and prove you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States at least 90 days before your conditional status (green card) expires.