Green card holders and family immigration

If you hold a green card as a permanent resident in New Jersey or anywhere in the United States, you may be able to petition for a green card for your spouse or your unmarried children of any age. If you or your family member is in the military, special considerations may apply to you. For others, the first step is to file a form known as the Petition for Alien Relative.


You will need to provide documentation as part of this process. This includes proof of your permanent residency, proof of your relationship to the individual on whose behalf you are petitioning, and proof of any name change.

Priority categories

There are different priority categories for people petitioning for a green card based on family immigration. Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 are in the second priority category behind the unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens. Next in line after that are your adult unmarried children.

Next steps and consular processing

The next step varies based on whether or not your family member is already in the country legally. If they are, when they get a visa number, they can apply using the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. If they are not, they will go through consular processing, which involves the National Visa Center and the relevant U.S. consulate.

The process of applying for a green card based on family relationships can be a complex one. It is important that documents are prepared correctly and that you meet deadlines in order to ensure that there are no delays or denials. There are also situations in which a person might qualify for a green card in several ways, and an attorney might help you determine which avenue would be the best one to follow in that case.

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