A permanent resident card, also known as a green card, is an official document that identifies an immigrant as someone who can legally live and work in the United States. If you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident yourself, you can petition for a family member to receive their own green card.
Petitioning for a family member is a valid option for beginning the immigration process, but there are certain restrictions you must understand first. You must prove that you can financially support your immigrating family member even if they fail to immediately find work, and must also understand which relatives you can legally sponsor.
As a U.S. citizen
If you are a born or naturalized citizen of the United States, you may begin the petitioning process for certain members of your immediate family. Be aware that the filing process for your petition requires proof of your relationship with the immigrating individual. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explain that as an existing citizen, you may petition for your:
As a lawful permanent resident
You may petition for limited family members to receive a green card even if you are currently living in the U.S. on a green card yourself. As a lawful permanent resident, however, you may only petition for your:
- Unmarried child
The immigration process can be lengthy and strenuous, but sponsoring your relative in their pursuit of residency status can make it much easier for them. Be aware of your responsibilities as a sponsor and you can make it through the petitioning process with relatively little difficulty.