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Who can petition for a family member to come to the U.S. or obtain a green card?

United States citizens can petition for their spouses, parents, children, and siblings. Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) can petition for their spouses and unmarried children.

The steps and requirements for getting a green card differ for each person, and depend on the petitioner’s immigration status and relationship to the family member. There are several things that will be considered, such as:

  • If the person requesting (the petitioner) is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident;
  • The relationship between the immigrant and the U.S. citizen (or lawful permanent resident) petitioner (parent, spouse, brother, etc.);
  • The country where the immigrant is from;
  • If the immigrant has ever been in the U.S. illegally.

Immigration law is complicated and making mistakes can be serious. If your family member is in the U.S. without legal status, and files an improper application for a green card, they risk deportation. Talk to an immigration attorney before you do anything.

This article gives answers to this and other common questions about family-based immigration, specifically obtaining a green card.


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