LPR-Green Cards

Permanent residence applications are also referred as green card cases or immigrant visa petitions. A foreign person wishing to immigrate to the United States permanently needs an immigrant visa. In order to immigrate to the United States , an applicant must be sponsored by a family member, either a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, or by a U.S. employer.

There are many ways to immigrate to the United States, depending on the types of family relationship and employment-based categories based on the applicant's specific set of skills. 

 Immigration Through a Family Member

There are two groups of family based immigrant visa categories provided under U.S. immigration law:

  • Immediate relatives and
  • Family preference categories
  • Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas (Unlimited): These visa types are based on a close family relationship with a United States (U.S.) citizen described as an Immediate Relative (IR). The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year. Immediate relative visa typesinclude:

    • IR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen 
    • IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen
    • IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen
    • IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
    • IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old

    The Family Preference Immigrant Visas have numerical limitation per year depending on the category. The family preference categories are:

    • Family First Preference (F1) : Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any. (23,400)
    • Family Second Preference (F2) : Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs. At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder is allocated to unmarried sons and daughters. (114,200)
    • Family Third Preference (F3) : Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children. (23,400)
    • Family Fourth Preference (F4) : Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age. (65,000)

    Immigration Through Employment

    A U.S. employer can sponsor certain skilled workers who will be hired into permanent jobs. Please click on our Employment-Based Petitions link to learn more about this process.

    How long do I have to wait to obtain a Green Card?

    The United States law limits the number of immigrant visas available each year, with certain limits by country. In these limited categories, whenever the number of qualified applicants exceeds the available immigrant visas, the applicant will need to wait. In this situation, the available immigrant visas will be issued in the chronological order in which the petitions were filed. The date a petition was filed is called  P riority Date.

    What is a Priority Date?

    In family immigration, this is generally the date the I-130 petition was filed with USCIS. For some employment based categories, this is the date your labor certification application was filed with the Department of Labor.

    What is the Visa Bulletin?

    The Visa Bulletin sets out per-country priority date cutoffs that regulate the flow of adjustment of status (AOS) and consular immigrant visa applications. The Department of State releases a monthly Visa Bulletin announcing the priority dates for each of the visa categories.

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