Applying for a Family-Based Green Card Petition

Applying for a green card gets tricky! We’re sharing everything you need to know about a family-based green card petition.
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If you are a U.S. citizen and want to bring your spouse or children to live with you in the United States, you must file a family-based green card petition. This process can be complicated. Therefore, it’s essential to understand all of the requirements involved. This article will provide an overview of family-based petitions. Moreover, we will discuss how an Immigration Lawyer in Texas can help your loved one apply for a green card.

Family-Based Green Card Petition Requirements 

First, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident to petition for a family-based green card. You must also meet specific relationship requirements. Moreover, there are financial requirements you must meet to petition for a family-based green card successfully.

Are you eligible for Family Based Green Card?

To be eligible for a family-based green card, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Further, you must also have a qualifying relationship with the foreigner.

The following family relationships qualify for a green card:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children under the age of 21
  • Parent (if you are over the age of 21)

If you do not have a family member who is a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident, then you will not be able to get a family-based green card.

Family Preference Eligibility

The United States recognizes four different family preference categories.

  • First preference: Unmarried, adult children of U.S. citizens and their minor children
  • Second preference: Spouses, unmarried children (under the age of 21), and parents of green card holders
  • Third preference: Married children of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens, along with their spouses and minor children

Steps to Applying for Green Card 

The United States requires the following steps to apply for a family-based green card.

Sponsor Files I-130 Petition 

To file a petition with the USCIS, you must file Form I-130. This form is also known as the Petition for Alien Relative. Basically, the I-130 establishes the relationship between you and your relative. Moreover, the U.S. citizen will need to file this form on behalf of their non-U.S. citizen relative who is not in the United States.

To apply for a green card for your relative, you will need to provide evidence that you are related. This can be a copy of your birth certificate, your marriage certificate, or any other relevant documents.

If Spouse, file I-130a

However, if you are petitioning for your spouse, you will also need to file form I-130a. This form is called Supplement J. Ultimately, it proves that your marital status and proves its validity and legality.

The I-130a must include evidence of your marriage. For example, this can have a copy of your marriage certificate or other relevant documentation.

File I-864 Affidavit of Support

Next, you need to file an I-864 Affidavit of Support. This form shows that you have the money to support your relative. Further, the I-864 must include evidence of your income, such as tax returns, pay stubs, or bank statements.

File Form with National Visa Center 

Then, if the I-130 is approved, you must file the form specified in your notice with the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC is a government agency that manages visa applications.

After submitting the required forms, the NVC will review your case and contact your relative to schedule an interview.


Your relative will need to make an appointment at a USCIS office. They will be fingerprinted and have their photo taken at this appointment. This is for their security. After the NVC has received all required documentation, they will contact your relative. They will schedule an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

Interview Process

A consular officer conducts the interview. They will ask your relative questions about their application and background. Additionally, they will need to provide any required documentation they haven’t already submitted.

After the interview, the consular officer will approve or deny the case.

Approval or Denial

Lastly, the consular officer will let your relative know if the United States has approved or denied the green card. If the U.S. approves them, they will receive their immigrant visa and be able to travel to the United States. This visa allows relatives to enter the United States permanently.

However, if the United States denies the petition, the consular officer will notify them and let them know why. Ultimately, this means that your relative did not meet the requirements to apply for a green card. They may be able to re-apply if they can fix the problem that made them ineligible.

Supporting Documents for Family Based Green Card Petition

You will need to include additional documents with your relative’s application. If you have any questions about what to include with your application, an immigration lawyer in Texas can help.

  • Government ID
  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Document supporting relationship to sponsor 
  • Letters of support from family and friends, if married 

Other Family Based Petitions 

Other types of family-based green cards include cards for widows and self-petitioner who have been victims of violence. You can find out if you qualify for one of these cards by talking to an immigration lawyer in Texas.

Additionally, if your relative is already in the United States, you may file an adjustment of status form I-485 with your I-130 at the same time. For example, if your spouse is in the United States on a work visa.

Why hire an Immigration Lawyer in Texas? 

Applying for a green card can be a complex process. A lawyer who specializes in immigration will be familiar with the rules and regulations and can help you navigate the process.

If USCIS denies your family-based green card petition, you may be able to appeal the decision or re-file your petition. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you navigate the appeals process and determine whether re-filing is an option for you.

Don’t go through it alone if you need help with a family-based green card petition. Set up a free consultation with Dooley Noted, an experienced immigration lawyer in Texas. We can assist you with all of your immigration needs.

The contents of this post, and the posting and viewing of the information on this post, should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues.

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