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Green Card for Relatives of U.S. Citizen

If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen and you meet eligibility requirements, you can get a Green Card / become a lawful permanent resident based on your family relationship.

The following individuals are considered to be immediate relatives for immigration purposes:

– the spouse of a U.S. citizen,

– the parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old, and

-  the unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. citizen.
In general, U.S. immigration law defines a “child” as an unmarried person under 21 years of age who is:

  • a child born in wedlock;
  • a stepchild, provided that the child was under 18 years of age at the time that the marriage creating the stepchild relationship occurred;
  • a legitimated child, provided that the child was legitimated while in the legal custody of the legitimating parent;
  • a child born out of wedlock, when a benefit is sought on the basis of its relationship with its mother, or to its father if the father has (or had) a bona fide relationship with the child;
  • a child adopted while under 16 years of age who has lived with and been in the legal custody of the adopting parent for at least two years; or
  • an orphan under 16 years of age who has been adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen or has an immediate-relative visa petition submitted in his or her behalf and is coming to the United States for adoption by a U.S. citizen.

In limited circumstances, if you qualify under the Child Status Protection Act, you may be considered a child for immigration purposes even after turning 21 years of age. More information on the Child Status Protection Act can be found on the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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