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. Family members must be inspected and admitted to the United States through a tourist/work visa, or parole. Through adjustment of status, these family members can obtain their legal permanent residence in the U.S., after attending an interview.
An exception to the inspection and admission requirements is offered to those with approved I-130 petitions filed before April 30, 2001. They will qualify through the 245i law which allows them to apply for status adjustment even if they entered the U.S. without inspection.
One of the benefits of adjustments of status is that you will receive an employment authorization card while you wait for 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 at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their own country. Your immediate family members will always have a visa available for them. After their form I-130 petition is approved, their case will be transferred to the corresponding consulate.
If as a US citizen, whether you are petitioning for non-immediate family members or as a legal permanent resident you are petitioning for a family member, they must wait for their I-130 priority date to become current.
Where can I find my priority date?