Family Preference: US Visa Family Sponsorship

Sponsor your kids, step-children, brothers, sisters, etc. to live in the United States as a permanent resident (a green card holder). Find out how to apply for US family sponsorship for those in the family sponsorship category.

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The United States allow family members of US Citizens and lawful permanent residents to become permanent residents of the US and obtain a green card. If you are a spouse, minor child, or parent of a US citizen, visit the immediate relative page for the immediate relative family sponsorship.

Other family members eligible to apply for a Green Card are described in the following family “preference immigrant” categories:

  • First preference (F1 Visa) : unmarried sons and daughters, 21 years of age and older, of U.S. citizens;
  • Second preference (F2A Visa) : spouses and their children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of lawful permanent residents;
  • Second preference (F2B Visa) : unmarried sons and daughters, 21 years of age and older, of lawful permanent residents;
  • Third preference (F3 Visa) : married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; and
  • Fourth preference (F4 Visa) : brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age and older)

How to Apply for US Family Sponsorship: Preference Relatives

If you are currently in the United States, an immigrant visa is immediately available to you as a family preference immigrant, and you meet certain other requirements, you may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to apply for a Green Card without leaving the country. If a visa is immediately available, you may file your Form I-485:

  • Together (“concurrently”) with Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative filed on your behalf;
  • While the Form I-130 is pending; or
  • After the Form I-130 is approved (and remains valid).

Documents Required for US Family Sponsorship Green Card

If you are the named beneficiary of a Form I-130, you are called the principal applicant. As the principal applicant, you should submit the following documentation and evidence to apply for a Green Card as a family preference immigrant who is already in the United States:

  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
  • Copy of the Form I-797, Approval or Receipt Notice, for the Form I-130 petition filed on your behalf (unless you are filing your Form I-485 together with the Form I-130);
  • Two passport-style photographs;
  • Copy of your government-issued identity document with photograph;
  • Copy of your birth certificate;
  • Copy of your passport page with nonimmigrant visa (if applicable);
  • Copy of your passport page with your admission or parole stamp (issued by U.S. immigration officer) (if applicable);
  • Copy of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, or copy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admission or parole stamp on the travel document (if applicable)
    Note: If CBP provided you with an electronic Form I-94 upon your arrival/admission to the United States, you may print out a paper version of the Form I-94 from the CBP website at;
  • Proof that you have continuously maintained a lawful status since arriving in the U.S.;
  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA or Form I-864EZ, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act or Form I-864W, Intending Immigrant’s Affidavit of Support Exemption (whichever applies);
  • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record (you may submit this form together with Form I-485 or later, such as by mail when we request it or in person at your interview, if any);
  • Certified police and court records of criminal charges, arrests, or convictions (if applicable);
  • Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (if applicable);
  • Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal (if applicable);
  • Documentation of past or present J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant status (if applicable), including proof of compliance with or a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement under INA 212(e) (for more information, see Form I-612, Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement);
  • If you currently hold A, G, or E nonimmigrant status, include Form I-508,
  • Request for Waiver of Certain Rights, Privileges, Exemptions and Immunities. Additionally, if you are a French national, you may also need to include Form I-508F;
  • Form I-566, Interagency Record of Request – A, G or NATO Dependent Employment Authorization or Change/Adjustment to/from A, G or NATO Status (only if you have A, G, or NATO nonimmigrant status); and
  • Form I-485 Supplement A, Adjustment of Status Under Section 245(i) (if applicable).

After Your Green Card is Approved

Once you’ve been granted a Green Card for your Family Sponsorship you will be required to carry your green card with you at all times. Your green card will be valid for 10 years. Six months before the expiration date, you should apply for another green card using the I-90 Form.

You should file Form I-90 to replace your Green Card if:

  • You were issued a card valid for 10 years that has expired or will expire within six months.
  • You have a Green Card that does not have an expiration date on it and want to replace it.
  • Your card has been lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • You were issued a card valid for 10 years before you turned 14 years old, and it will not expire before your 16th birthday.
  • Your card was issued with incorrect data (name, DOB, issued date) due to USCIS administrative error.

Why Legal Help for Family Sponsorship is Important

Although the concept of family sponsorship seems straightforward, there are many exceptions and details of which to be aware. Instead of risking having your efforts rejected due to a missing detail on a document or an ineligible scenario, we recommend consulting with an experienced legal attorney who knows how to properly prepare successful family sponsorship applications.

Why Hire Us to Assist Your Family Sponsorship Case?

Since there are a limited amount of visas available under the Family Preference category, getting the application right the first time is vital. Even though there are unlimited visas available for immediate relatives, an application needs to be prepared properly. We have helped thousands of individuals to successfully get U.S. permanent residence through family-based petitions, and we can help you too!

The first step towards a successful family sponsorship application is getting an assessment of your case. Fill out our immigration assessment form and we will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your eligibility and options.