Legally entering the United States is no small task. You have to find the right visa program and undergo an intense application process. Securing your Permanent Resident Card or Green Card can take even more work. With a Green Card, you have the right to stay in the United States for the rest of your life in most situations. You have the security to plan for your future and invest in your life here.
Knowing that you can stay in the United States can be a great comfort, but you may also hope to reunite with the family you left behind when you entered the United States. If you are a permanent resident with a Green Card but not a United States citizen, is it possible to help a family member enter the United States?
The family preference visa program includes permanent residents
You do not need to be a citizen to help your family enter the United States. You don’t even need to be a permanent resident for that. Those on visas can typically apply to have their spouse or unmarried, minor children travel with them to the United States.
However, when you become a permanent resident, more options open up to you versus those who hold visas. Under the family preference visa program, you can potentially bring your spouse or your children into the United States as a Green Card holder.
There are multiple tiers of preference, and the spouse of a permanent resident is in the second tier of priority, below the children of citizens. The unmarried, minor children of a permanent resident may also qualify for a family preference visa, with slightly less preference than spouses of those with Green Cards.
There are limits on a family preference visa program
One of the differences between permanent residents and citizens is their rights under the family preference visa program. In theory, citizens have the unlimited right to sponsor spouses and children. Permanent residents are subject to annual limitations on the total number of people who can enter the country through this program.
Still, while it may take multiple applications over several years, pursuing a family preference visa can be one of the easiest ways to bring your family members into the country once you have your Green Card.