Lawful U.S. Permanent Residents may petition for their spouses and unmarried children of any age, to immigrate to the United States if they otherwise qualify.

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As a green card holder (lawful permanent resident), you are allowed to petition for certain family members to immigrate to the United States. A permanent resident can petition for his or her spouse and unmarried children of any age to come and live in the U.S. permanently. There is a limited number of these visas allotted each year by Congress, so there is often a long waiting period for a visa number. If your family member qualifies under this family preference category, you can file a petition for them if they are already in the U.S. lawfully or if they are still overseas.

Related form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative


If the family member qualifies for this immigrant visa, he or she falls into the Second Family preference category (F2). This category includes spouses of U.S. permanent residents and their unmarried children of any age.
There are a few scenarios that could affect eligibility under the F2 category:

  • Turning 21 years old. Turning 21 years old could significantly delay your obtaining an immigrant visa. At that age, you will no longer be considered an “unmarried child”, or F2A, and will transfer to the subcategory of “unmarried son or daughter”, referred to as F2B. The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) may apply to you and allow you to maintain your eligibility for the F2A category.
  • Getting married. If you marry before you become a lawful permanent resident, you will no longer qualify as an unmarried child of a permanent resident. There is no immigrant visa category for married children of permanent residents.
  • The permanent resident family member becomes a U.S. citizen. This could work to the advantage of the immigrating family member by qualifying him or her for a green card as the family member of a U.S. citizen. Potentially, one of those visas could become available before an F2 visa.

Also, see Form I-485 here and Form I-131 here

Was your form I-130 Already Approved?

How long does it take for the I-130 to be approved?

After filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, the approval process can take anywhere from 5-12 months for Immediate Relatives and could take several years for Family Preference Categories.

What happens after your I-130 gets approved?

After approval of an I-130, USCIS will send the file to the National Visa Center (NVC) and will coordinate the case transfer for consular processing in the U.S. consulate in the country where the foreign relative resides.

How much does it cost to file an I-130?

The filing fee for the I-130 petition is currently $535. You may pay the fee with a money order, personal check, or cashier’s check.

When I can file I-130 and Green Card Application at the same time?

When the Sponsor submits Form I-130 together with Form I-485 it’s known as “concurrent filing.” This type of adjustment is an option when there is an immediately available immigrant “visa number” and the immigrant entered and living in the U.S. in lawful status and is eligible to use adjustment of status as an application procedure.

Contact Attorney Igor Litvak

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    Zontlaw attorneys have provided assistance with the green card process to families throughout the United States. Contact our experienced immigration lawyers in New York City today for creative solutions to your complex immigration problems. The Green Card process is very complicated, so the best chance of success comes from working with an experienced attorney. Our attorneys, translators, and support staff will work with you individually to give you the best chance of success possible.  We know how difficult and heart-wrenching the process can be, and we will be with you every step of the way.

    Your citizenship or your residency status is something you should entrust to a professional. Call the top New York Immigration Attorneys toll-free at 1-888-ZONTLAW / 1-888-966-8529


    This article is intended to give you an overview of the various Immigrant Family Preference Categories that exist, the number…
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