An international family of four crosses a street in the US

As a U.S. citizen, you are able to petition for your spouse, children, parents, and siblings. In order to petition for your parents or siblings, you have to be over the age of 21. You can also file for a fiancé.

As a lawful permanent resident, you are able to petition your spouse and unmarried children. You are not able to petition for your parents, siblings, or married children.

Spousal relationship includes same-sex couples. The only requirement is that the marriage is lawful and valid.

Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens always have a visa available. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens include spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents. Other relatives are subject to the preference categories and have to wait for a visa to become available to continue their process.

Under immigration law, you are able to petition for adopted children if the adoption complies with immigration law and occurred before the child was 16. Additionally, you are able to petition for a stepchild if the relationship occurred before the child was 18, meaning you were married to your spouse before they were 18.

Contrary to many misconceptions, you are not able to petition for your cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents, nieces, or nephews.

The Family Petition is part of the process of obtaining your green card. The next step will depend on whether you are an immediate relative or subject to the preference categories. Admission into the country is needed to apply for the green card in the U.S.

Typically, only immediate relatives will be able to adjust their status in the U.S. Other categories will more likely have to obtain their green card through Consular Process. There are exceptions such as individuals that fall under 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

People that have to Consular Process will work with the Department of State and the National Visa Center.

Some individuals require waivers before they are able to obtain their green card.

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