A green card holder, also known as a legal permanent resident, is an individual who was not born in the United States but was given the opportunity to permanently live and work in the US. There are several ways for someone born outside the US to obtain permanent resident status. An outlet is through employment, such as an advanced professional position. One can also obtain an LPR card through scholastic or scientific degree; advanced artistic or athletic skill. Other ways include petitions under NACARA; petitions for U-visas for victims of certain crimes; petitions for victims of domestic abuse; petitions that are family based, etc.
There are two pathways for family-based petitions: those being consular processing and adjustment of status. Consular processing is a process an individual outside the US (or someone who is in the US) but is not eligible to apply for adjustment of status, to obtain an immigrant visa abroad. Which would then allow them to enter the US as a legal permanent resident. Adjustment of status is a process an individual who is in the US can apply, in certain cases, for legal permanent resident status without having to leave the US.
A US Citizen or a Green Card Holder can Petition for Many Foreign Relatives
To petition for a relative to immigrate to the US a petitioner needs to meet the below requirements:
- One must be a US Citizen (USC) or a legal permanent resident of the US; and
- If the relative were not able to support themself when they arrive in the US. One must meet certain income requirements to prove they can financially support their relative if they were to emigrate to the US. If the petitioner is unable to meet those requirements, then the petitioner would have to find a co-sponsor who could.
A US Citizen (USC) may petition for the following foreign relatives:
- Married/unmarried children (of any age);
- Married/unmarried stepchildren (of any age), if the marriage that created the stepchild-stepparent relationship formed before the stepchild turned 18;
- Sister/brother/half-sister/half-brother if the USC is at least 21 years old;
- Parent, if the USC is at least 21 years old;
- Stepparent, if the USC is at least 21 years old, and if the marriage that created the stepchild-stepparent relationship happened before the stepchild turned 18
A green card holder may petition for the following foreign relatives:
- Unmarried child of any age; and
- Unmarried stepchild of any age