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July 4, 2024

How to Sponsor a Family Member for a Green Card

Sponsoring a family member for a green card is a meaningful way to reunite loved ones and help them achieve permanent residency in the United States. This guide outlines the steps involved in family sponsorship, including the required forms and documentation.

1. Determine Eligibility

Before you begin the sponsorship process, it’s crucial to determine if you are eligible to sponsor your family member. U.S. citizens can sponsor their spouses, children, parents, and siblings, while lawful permanent residents can sponsor their spouses and unmarried children.

2. File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

The first step in the sponsorship process is to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes your relationship with the family member you wish to sponsor.

  • Required Documents for Form I-130:
    • Proof of your U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status (e.g., birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or green card)
    • Proof of your relationship with the beneficiary (e.g., marriage certificate, birth certificate)
    • Passport-style photos of you and your relative
    • Evidence of any name changes (e.g., marriage certificate, court order)

3. Wait for USCIS Approval

After submitting Form I-130, USCIS will review your petition. Processing times can vary, so it’s important to check the current processing times on the USCIS website. If USCIS approves the petition, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing.

4. Pay Fees and Submit Visa Application

Once the NVC receives your approved petition, you will need to pay the necessary fees and submit the visa application. The specific forms and documentation required depend on whether your relative is applying from within the U.S. (adjustment of status) or from abroad (consular processing).

  • For Adjustment of Status:
    • File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
    • Provide supporting documents (e.g., medical examination results, financial support evidence)
    • Attend a biometrics appointment
  • For Consular Processing:
    • Submit Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application
    • Provide civil documents (e.g., birth certificates, police certificates)
    • Schedule and attend a visa interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy

5. Attend the Interview

If your relative is applying through consular processing, they will need to attend a visa interview at the designated U.S. consulate or embassy. During the interview, a consular officer will verify the information in the application and assess the eligibility of your family member for a green card.

6. Receive the Green Card

If the interview is successful, your family member will receive their visa and can travel to the United States. Upon arrival, they will be granted lawful permanent resident status and will receive their green card in the mail.


Sponsoring a family member for a green card involves several steps, but with careful preparation and the right assistance, the process can be smooth and successful. At Ballout Law, Atty. Haitham Ballout provides expert Green Card assistance, leveraging over 30 years of experience to help clients in San Mateo, the San Francisco Bay Area, and remotely across the United States.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you reunite with your loved ones and guide you through the family sponsorship process.

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Let’s start today.

Book a virtual or in person consultation.