The process through which a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) petitions for certain non-citizen family member can be a long and complicated process with many potential pitfalls.

  • U.S. citizens may petition for their spouse, children, parents and siblings.
  • LPRs may petition for their spouse and unmarried children.

The spouse, parents and minor children of U.S. citizens are considered “immediate relatives” and have visas immediately available.

Relatives who are not “immediate relatives” must wait for a visa to become available for them and are assigned a “priority date.” When the “priority date” becomes current, the non-citizen relative’s visa will become available. Visa availability is determined by the U.S. State Department and announced through its visa bulletin. You can check the current visa bulletin at or by calling (202) 663-1541.

When the priority date on your I-130 receipt notice is the same or earlier than the date in your visa category, you may be eligible to apply for LPR status. Please make an appointment with our law office before filing any application for LPR status.

Click here to learn more about when you can Adjust Status in the United States and when you may have to process your visa outside the U.S. at a consular post.