Both citizens of the United States and in certain cases lawful permanent residents may petition family members for lawful permanent resident status (commonly referred to as “green cards.”) In general, Immediate Relatives (spouses of a U.S. citizen, children under 21 of U.S. citizens, and parents of U.S. citizens over 21) provide the quickest, most direct path to lawful permanent status. Other family members, such as U.S. citizen siblings, and lawful permanent spouses and parents, may also submit applications for family members, but the waiting period may be quite extensive.
Some people may be eligible to file for green cards within the United State in a process called Adjustment of Status. Others may need to apply from abroad in a process called Consular Processing. The laws dictating whether someone may apply within the United States or travel abroad are complex and subject to changes in interpretation. It is therefore essential to review the facts of your case with a qualified attorney before initiating an application.