PETITION FOR ALIEN RELATIVE

Spouse of a U.S. Citizen

The spouse of a U.S. citizen is referred to as an “immediate relative” who can immigrate to the United States without being subjected to any numerical restrictions. In other words, s/he can apply for the permanent resident status without any waiting time.

Alien spouse is currently residing in the United States:
In this case, the U.S. citizen can file a Petition for Alien Relative concurrent with the alien spouse’s filing of an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.


Alien spouse is currently residing abroad:

In this case, the U.S. citizen needs to file a Petition for Alien Relative first and await its approval. Once the petition is approved, you must begin the National Visa Center (NVC) processing. After NVC finalizes document review, your file will be sent to the U.S. Consulate General abroad for your alien spouse to apply for an immigrant visa and undergo visa interview. When the alien spouse is admitted at a U.S. port-of-entry, s/he will enter as a Lawful Permanent Resident, also called a green card holder, and will be permitted to work and live permanently in the United States.


When the alien spouse is admitted as a Lawful Permanent Resident, s/he is given a “two-year conditional green card,” which means his/her permanent residency can be terminated during this period, if the marriage this green card was granted upon is no longer valid.  


In order to remove the condition on the two-year conditional green card, the couple must file a Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence during the 90 days before the second anniversary of the alien spouse’s conditional residency. Failure to do so will result in the termination of the conditional green card. 

Parent(s) of a U.S. Citizen

The parent of a U.S. citizen over the age of 21 is eligible to apply for permanent resident status as immediate relative, without being subjected to any numerical restrictions. In other words, s/he can apply for the permanent resident status without any waiting time.


One thing to point out is that the father-in-law or mother-in-law of a U.S. citizen is not a "parent" of the U.S. citizen for immigration purposes. 


Alien parent is currently residing in the United States:

In this case, the U.S. citizen can file a Petition for Alien Relative concurrent with the alien parent’s filing of an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.


Alien parent is currently residing abroad:
In this case, the U.S. citizen needs to file a Petition for Alien Relative first and await its approval. Once the petition is approved, you must begin the National Visa Center (NVC) processing. After NVC finalizes document review, your file will be sent to the U.S. Consulate General abroad for your alien parent to apply for an immigrant visa and undergo visa interview. When the alien parent is admitted at a U.S. port-of-entry, s/he will enter as a Lawful Permanent Resident, also called a green card holder, and will be permitted to work and live permanently in the United States 

Child, Son or Daughter of a U.S. Citizen

An adopted child qualifies as long as the adoption was finalized before the child's 16th birthday, and the adoptive parents have legal custody and the child physically resides with the adoptive parents for two years (before or after legal custody or adoption). A step-child qualifies as long as the marriage between the U.S. citizen and the parent of the child had occurred before the stepchild's 18th birthday.


Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age

The child, unmarried and under the age of 21, of a U.S. citizen is eligible to apply for permanent resident status as immediate relative, without being subjected to any numerical restrictions. In other words, they can apply for the permanent resident status without any waiting time.


Alien child is currently residing in the United States:

In this case, the U.S. citizen can file a Petition for Alien Relative concurrent with the alien child’s filing of an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjustment of Status.


Alien child is currently residing abroad:
In this case, the U.S. citizen needs to file a Petition for Alien Relative first and await its approval. Once the petition is approved, you must begin the National Visa Center (NVC) processing. After NVC finalizes document review, your file will be sent to the U.S. Consulate General abroad for your alien child to apply for an immigrant visa and undergo visa interview. When the alien child is admitted at a U.S. port-of-entry, s/he will enter as a Lawful Permanent Resident, also called a green card holder, and will be permitted to work and live permanently in the United States.


Age-Out: If the alien child turns 21 prior to adjustment of status case approval, the case will be moved into another preference category, which can significantly delay the processing time.