There are many ways to apply for a green card (permanent resident status) to stay in the US permanently. The pathways come through employment, family relationships, diversity lottery, refugee/asylum status, and several special immigrant classes. But, most of the immigrants are applying for family based green card through a family relationship. It is found that 69 percent of the more than one million people who were approved a green card in 2019 were in fact in a family-based category according to USCIS statistics.
If you are a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), you may petition for the following family members, as long as you can demonstrate the authenticity of relationships:
If you are related to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident then you can apply for a Green Card Through a U.S. Family Member. The family-based immigration is divided into two categories:
Immediate Relative Category
Immigration law classifies the spouse, unmarried dependent children (under age 21) and parents of U.S. citizens as immediate relatives. This group of immediate relative category is an exclusive group. This is because an immigrant visa is always existing. if you are an immediate relative then there is no “wait” for a visa. Immediate relatives aren’t subject to the long delays linked with other categories. immediate relatives only include:
Family Preference Category
Most other eligible family members may enter into the family preference category with family sponsorship to the USA. This family preference category often has an extended delay of file processing. That’s because there is a limit of number of immigrant visas available to family preference immigrants each year.
Fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens also have a pathway to permanent residence (green card), but they don’t appropriately fit into one of the categories mentioned above.
Additionally, the widow(er) of a U.S. citizen may be eligible for a green card if he or she was married at the time the U.S. citizen spouse passed away.
Then again, grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, cousins and in-laws may not be directly petitioned.Source: U.S. Department of State
When the visa petition (Form I-130) is done and an immigrant visa is available, the family member may file the application for a green card. basically, there are two ways this may happen.
Applying for a Green Card Outside the U.S.
Majority of the people apply for a green card at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside the US. Previously, this was known as consular processing. The intending immigrant provides the application and all the documents asked as per checklist to the embassy. The embassy official will also go through a consular interview before granting the immigrant visa.
Applying for a Green Card Inside the U.S.
Some people who are really present in the United States through a legitimate entry may be able to use the adjustment of status process and get a green card. At the time of adjusting status, the applicant must have an immigrant visa immediately available to them. Normally, this makes adjustment available only to immediate relatives (who always have a visa ready). Some family preference immigrants who might have an approved I-130 and a visa is available may also be eligible to adjust status.Source: U.S. Department of State
An adjustment of status application classically includes a package of forms and supporting documents to include: