How can I petition my family member for a green card?

How to petition a family member abroad for a green card.
Who does this apply to? 

If you are a U.S citizen, or a lawful permanent resident and you have a relative that lives in a different country, you can petition for your relative to become a lawful permanent resident (or a “green card” holder) in the U.S. The process of petitioning a relative abroad for a green card is referred to as “Consular Processing”.

Who can you petition for?

As a U.S citizen or lawful permanent resident, you can petition certain relatives:

U.S citizens can petition for the following relatives:

A spouse;
Unmarried children under 21 years of age;
Unmarried sons or daughters 21 years of age or older;
Married sons or daughters of any age;
Brothers or sisters (you must be 21 years of age or older);
Mother or father (you must be 21 years of age or older).

Lawful permanent residents can petition for:

A spouse
Unmarried child under 21 years of age
Unmarried son or daughter 21 years of age or older.

What is the process for petitioning a relative?

There are three main steps in the process:

  • You, the “Petitioner”, will first file a “Petition for Alien Relative” with USCIS in the U.S. After the petition is approved, the case is transferred to the National Visa Center (that is also located in the U.S.).
  • The National Visa Center (the NVC) will collect additional documents from you the Petitioner and also from your relative- the Beneficiary. Once the case is ready, the NVC will transfer your case to the U.S. Department of State consulate/embassy at your relative’s home country.
  • Your relative will attend an interview at the consulate/embassy. Upon approval at the interview, your relative will receive an Immigrant visa. The Immigrant visa allows for your relative to enter the U.S as a lawful permanent resident.
Check out the video below for more information about petitioning a family member.


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