Family-based green cards are only available for certain types of relatives. The basic steps to get a green card for a family member are:
- You must be a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, depending on the family relationship.
- You must file a visa petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requesting your family member(s).
- Your family member may need to attend a “biometrics” or fingerprint appointment.
- You and your family member may need to attend an interview at USCIS or at the US consulate abroad.
- USCIS approves your visa petition.
- Once a visa is available, your family member files an application for lawful permanent residence with USCIS or completes consular processing through the Department of State. Some people can file both the petition and application together at the same time. When your relative is in the US, this process is called “Adjustment of Status to Lawful Permanent Resident.”
- Your relative must clear medical and security clearances.
- USCIS or the US consulate abroad will interview you and your family member.
- USCIS or the US consulate abroad either approves or denies the application.
A consulate is a small office or representative located in another country. For example, the US has many consulates in other countries. An embassy is one example of a consulate.
Note: If your relative is in the US but cannot start the application process while in the US because of their current immigration status, they may need to complete the process from their home country. Keep in mind that leaving the US for this processing could make your relative inadmissible and prevent them from getting a green card.