How To Get A Green Card Through Family-Based Petition

Various pathways are available for foreign nationals who want to reside in the United States. If you have a relative in America who is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, they can petition for you to come or reside in the country. However, you must still comply with its requirements and undergo the process.

Learn how you can obtain such essential immigration documents through a family-based petition. Discover how to do it whether you apply in the United States or your home country. Moreover, know how an immigration lawyer can help you deal with all the complexities.

Permanent Residency And Steps For Obtaining A Green Card Thorugh Family Petition

Obtain A Green Card Through Family-Based Immigration

Family-based immigration is one of the pathways to entering the United States. Many doors in this option can lead to permanent residency. To qualify for a petition, your relative must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR). Moreover, the family petition has two main categories involving specific qualifications.

Since these categories involve certain eligibility criteria, you must know that obtaining a Visa or Green Card through your relative varies. The process depends upon your relationship with the U.S. Citizen or the permanent resident.

When you plan to come or reside in the United States, you must prepare yourself for the process and complexities of a family petition. It involves several key steps.

  • Determine Eligibility

Your relationship with your sponsor is crucial in this process. The petitioner must first establish the relationship by submitting Form I-130 or the Petition for Alien Relative. Your U.S. citizen or resident relative should submit it on your behalf as your sponsor or petitioner.

Moreover, it is essential that you know the main categories of sponsorship in family-based immigration. The first one involves the immediate relatives. It encompases U.S. citizens’ immediate family members, such as spouses, parents, and unmarried sons and daughters under 21.

Notably, there is no numerical limit on the Visas allocated for immediate relatives, allowing for an unrestricted number of these Visas to be granted.

On the other hand, the family-preference category encompasses more distant relatives of Green Card holders and U.S. citizens, with annual numerical limits on available Visas. This category includes:

  • Unwed offspring over 21 of U.S. citizens.
  • Unmarried children (under 21 years old) and spouses of LPRs.
  • Unmarried daughters and sons (21 years or older) of Green Card holders.
  • Married daughters and sons of U.S. citizens.
  • Siblings of U.S. citizens.

Establishing a solid relationship with your sponsor is pivotal for the family-based immigration process. It is also crucial to understand the main sponsorship categories. When you do, it will be easy for you to proceed to the next step of the process.

  •  File The Petition

After confirming your eligibility for permanent residency through family sponsorship, the subsequent step is to compile the necessary documentation. The sponsoring family member must submit Form I-130, known as the Petition for Alien Relative, to the USCIS on your behalf.

This pivotal step holds immense significance as it is crucial in establishing and validating the familial relationship between the petitioner (sponsor) and yourself as their alien relative. The accurate and timely submission of Form I-130 is essential, as it initiates the formal process of petitioning for your permanent residency status in the United States.

  • Monitor The Priority Date

While awaiting Form I-130 approval, you can proceed to submit Form I-485, the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. You can do it if you are in the United States and seeking permanent residency. This option is particularly beneficial for those with expiring Tourist Visas who wish to adjust their status without leaving the country.

In addition to filing forms and awaiting approval, it is essential to monitor the priority date. This date corresponds to when your U.S. citizen or resident family member submitted your Visa petition to the immigration office on your behalf.

Consular processing with the U.S. Department of State is necessary for those outside the United States. This involves applying for an Immigrant Visa to enter the country and obtain permanent residency.

  • Adjustment Of Status & Consular Process

After USCIS approves your immigration application, the National Visa Center (NVC) takes over for consular processing. During this stage, your case remains with the NVC until the availability of an Immigrant Visa number. The USCIS ensures that you and your sponsor are notified about the progress of your application.

Once an Immigrant Visa number is allocated, the NVC guides you in completing application fees and submitting the required documents. Subsequently, you’ll receive a welcome letter, and you can proceed to pay the processing fees.

These fees include the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee and the Affidavit of Support Fee, payable online. However, it’s important to note that these fees cannot be paid simultaneously but must be settled sequentially.

  •  Navigate DS-260

After paying the processing fee and your status is updated to “paid,” you can access the form DS-260, the Immigrant Visa electronic application. This online form is completed by individuals who have received NVC notification to proceed with the Immigrant Visa application process.

Once submitted, the NVC reviews your application. You’ll receive an email indicating either necessary corrections or documentarily complete status. If corrections are needed, resubmission is required. If you are applying for permanent residency in the United States, an Immigrant Visa is immediately available, but adherence to forms and supporting documents is essential.

For applicants with complete documents, the NVC and the U.S. Embassy or Consulate will schedule an interview as part of the final steps in the application process.

  • Prepare For The Interview

Before your interview, ensure you have reviewed and followed the U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s interview preparations. Adequate preparation on your part is also crucial.

A consular officer will have an interview with you at the embassy to assess your eligibility for an Immigrant Visa. Having legal representation can be beneficial. A Visa attorney can guide you in answering interview questions and presenting yourself effectively.

If you are in the United States working on adjusting your status, USCIS authorities will evaluate your case and determine if an interview is necessary. If scheduled, you must attend a USCIS office for a sworn or affirmed questioning session regarding your Form I-485. A notice will provide details about the interview’s date, time, and location.

During the interview, you must bring original copies of the documents submitted with the Form I-485 application. It includes those from the family member who filed the immigrant petition on your behalf, if applicable.

  • Wait For The USCIS Decision

After your interview, all you need to do is to wait. USCIS will notify you regarding the petition. It can either be a Visa approved or a Visa denied.

You must pay the USCIS Immigrant fee before traveling to the country if approved.

Once settled, you can enter the States before your Immigrant Visa or medical examination expires. When you arrive in the country, you must apply for admission as a Green Card holder.

For denied petitions, a consular officer will inform you why you’re ineligible to get a Green Card. Different factors could determine why an applicant is ineligible. However, in some scenarios, the reason could be insufficient or missing information on your documentation.

This is why, to increase your chances of approval, you need to ensure you file everything accurately and adequately. It includes filling in all the required information on the form and submitting the proper supporting evidence. You must not miss or put incorrect details and reduce your omissions.

Boost your chances of approval by enlisting the assistance of a lawyer to guide and support you through the process. For reliable immigration help in Texas, especially concerning family petitions, turn to Lincoln-Goldfinch Law.

Navigating The Path To A Green Card With A Family Petition Lawyer

Collaborate With An Experienced Immigration Lawyer

Partnering with a skilled immigration attorney can help you confidently pursue a Green Card through a family petition. The complexities of the immigration process require quality guidance to navigate smoothly.

An immigration lawyer brings in-depth knowledge of the legal intricacies, ensuring that all necessary documentation is accurate and timely submitted. They can assess your eligibility, provide strategic advice, and address any challenges that may arise during the application process.

Additionally, having a legal professional by your side enhances your understanding of the procedures and safeguards your rights. Lincoln-Goldfinch Law in Texas offers reliable legal help in immigration matters. They provide the support you need to successfully navigate the family petition process and increase your chances of obtaining a Green Card.


Navigating the U.S. immigration system through family-based petitions requires careful steps and understanding. Relatives of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents can explore this pathway for obtaining a Green Card. The process involves determining eligibility, filing the petition (Form I-130), and monitoring the priority date.

Seeking assistance from an experienced immigration lawyer enhances the chances of success in the complex immigration journey. An experienced lawyer for immigration can provide valuable guidance, ensuring accurate documentation and increasing the likelihood of approval.

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