First, the U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident must file the Form I-130 petition for their family member. This petition only establishes the relationship with the family member and does not grant an immigration benefit. There are two different processes to get your legal permanent residence or “green card”:
Adjustment of status
The only individuals who are eligible for adjustment of status are immediate family members of U.S. citizens (see chart above). The family members must have been inspected and admitted to the United States through a tourist visa, work visa, or parole. Through adjustment of status, these family members would be able to get their legal permanent residence in the United States, generally after attending an interview in your local immigration office.
There is an exception to the inspection and admission to the United States requirements for those individuals who have an approved I-130 petition that was filed before April 30, 2001. They will qualify through the 245i law that enables them to apply for adjustment of status even if they entered the United States without inspection.
The benefits of adjustments of status are that you will receive an employment authorization card while you await your interview. Another great benefit is that you can be accompanied by your attorney during your interview. Attorney Yunuen Mora of Cross Border Lawyer will guide you through the entire process and will attend the interview with you.
If as a U.S. citizen you are petitioning for a family member who lives abroad, your family member will have their visa interview in the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. Your immediate family members (see chart above) will always have a visa available for them. This means that after their form I-130 petition is approved, their case will be transferred to the corresponding consulate.
If as a US. Citizen you petitioned for non-immediate family members or as a legal permanent resident you filed a petition for a family member, they must wait for their I-130 priority date to become current.
Where can I find my priority date?