Whether you recently became a lawful permanent resident or have been a legal permanent resident for a while, first of all, congratulations!

Being a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) comes with a plethora of rights and responsibilities. Some of the rights conferred to a green card holder include the ability to live and work in the U.S. permanently, enter the U.S. without a visa, the path to apply for citizenship, and protection under federal, state, and local laws. You traveled hundreds or thousands of miles across borders or over the ocean to immigrate to the U.S., either under an employment-based green card, family-based green card, or green card through other categories.

And now, you would like to enjoy your American life experiences with a loved one. U.S. immigration law considers some familial relationships to be so important that it allows a green card holder to petition for certain relatives to immigrate to the U.S. as permanent residents. If you are a green card holder who is looking to sponsor a family member for a green card, this article is for you.

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Can I sponsor my spouse if I have a green card?

Yes, if you are a green card holder, under U.S. immigration law, you may petition for your husband or wife to immigrate to the U.S. as a permanent resident. Unlike the spouse of a citizen, Congress imposes yearly numerical limitations on the immigrant visas afforded to the spouse of a green card holder. Husbands or wives of green card holders are ranked as second-preference immigrants (F2). The higher the preference, the quicker the visa availability for a family member under the category. Adult unmarried sons or daughters of a U.S. citizen are classified under the first preference (F1) category for example, and therefore likely to be afforded an immigrant visa quicker than a permanent resident’s spouse.

Step 1: As a green card holder you must first file a petition on behalf of your spouse, also called Form I-130. The main purpose of this form is to establish the sponsors’ citizenship or permanent residence and a bona fide marriage relationship with the beneficiary. If you are a permanent resident who is sponsoring your husband for a green card, for example, Form I-130 helps you establish your permanent residence status, and that your marriage with your husband is bona fide and not fraudulent. You may file this form online or by mail; if you decide to file by mail, click here to access the Form I-130, or if you decide to file online instead, click here to open a new USCIS account or log into an existing one.

Some of the benefits of filing online include online case status alerts, case correspondence, personal information updates, and evidence upload. The system will automatically guide you through the process and help you make payments and upload documents online. The required documents, fees, and processing time is the same regardless of whether you file online or by mail.

If you are filing via mail, the required fields must be correctly typed or filled in black ink, and the required documents submitted. If you need extra space to fill out a certain part, you may use the space provided in part 9 of the application. Similarly, if you must attach an additional sheet of paper in support or explanation of a certain part, you may do so – but make sure you list your name and A-Number on top; sign and date each page, and mention the section or part of the application it refers to. If you fail to submit all evidence and supporting documents, the USCIS may issue a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) or even worse deny your application for the lack of supporting documents.

The following documents are required to correctly file the Petition for your alien spouse, Form I-130:

  • Completely and accurately filled out Form I-130.
  • Form G-1145, E-Notification of Petition Acceptance (optional).
  • Proof of your (Petitioner) permanent resident status.
  • Proof of marriage, certificate of marriage for example.
  • Proof of legal name changes, if applicable.
  • Form I-130A, biographic information completed and signed by your spouse if in the U.S.
  • Two passport-size photographs of both you and your immigrant spouse.
  • Filing fee of $535, check or a money order made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Note that, Form I-130A which is used to establish the bona fides of your marriage with the beneficiary spouse must be filled out and signed by your spouse. However, there is an exception if you live in the U.S. and your spouse is outside the U.S. Under such a situation, you may complete Form I-130A on your spouse’ behalf and the immigrant spouse does not have to sign. Since this form is supplemental to and filed with Form I-130, there is no additional fee required. The filing location depends on where you are located in the U.S. Remember that the petition that is not mailed to the appropriate filing location will experience processing delays. Please click here, to locate the appropriate mailing address for your petition.

A petitioner who is a resident of Oklahoma must mail their Form I-130 to the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox:

U.S. Postal Service deliveries:

USCIS

Attn: I-130

P.O. Box 21700

Phoenix, AZ 85036-1700

FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

USCIS

Attn: I-130 (Box 21700)

1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S

Suite 100

Phoenix, AZ 85034-4850

Step 2: Upon a complete and successful submission of the petition, the USCIS will mail you (the petitioner) an I-797 approval notice. If you can demonstrate your relationship with your spouse, the USCIS generally approves the petition. Unlike the spouse of a U.S. citizen, a spouse of a green card holder is subject to annual visa limitations. Therefore, he or she must wait until a visa is available under the family second preference category (F2A) – that is, when your priority date is current. The priority date is the day your approved I-130 Petition was filed. You can check the Visa Bulletin to see if the priority date for your visa category is current or in other words, whether a visa is available. The next step is determined by your selection on the petition of whether your spouse intends to apply for adjustment of status from inside the U.S. or apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy in their country. If your spouse entered the U.S. legally and is currently present inside the U.S, after a visa is available under F2A, he or she can apply for adjustment of status by filing Form I-485.

The filing fee for Form I-485 is $1,225 including an $85 biometric fee, which must be completed by the primary applicant, your beneficiary spouse. It may be submitted by mail or online; if your spouse decides to file by mail, click here to access the Form I-485, or if they decide to file online instead, click here to open a new USCIS account or log into an existing one.

Some of the benefits of filing Form I-485 online include online case status alerts, case correspondence, personal information updates, and evidence upload. The system will automatically guide you through the process and help you make payments and upload documents online. The required documents, fees, and processing time is the same regardless of whether you file online or by mail.

If you are filing via mail, the form must be filled fully and accurately, clearly typed or filled in black ink, and supplemented with required documents. If you need extra space to fill out a certain part, you may use the space provided in part 14 of the application. Similarly, if you must attach an additional sheet of paper in support or explanation of a certain part, you may do so – but make sure you list your name and A-Number on top; sign and date each page, and mention the section or part of the application it refers to.

The following documents are required to correctly file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence by the immigrant spouse:

  • Completely and accurately filled out Form I-485.
  • Copy of a government-issued identity document, passport for example.
  • Birth certificate issued by the country of birth.
  • Passport page with the admission stamp.
  • Form I-94, Arrival-Departure record.
  • Copy of approval of the notice, Form I-797 for the I-130 Petition.
  • Marriage certificate.
  • Affidavit of Support with supporting documents signed by the green card holder spouse, Form I-864.
  • Report of medical examination and vaccination record, Form I-693.
  • Any criminal charges, arrests, or convictions records.
  • Filing fee of $1,225, check or a money order made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Application for employment authorization while you wait, Form I-765 (optional).
  • Application for a travel document if you must leave the U.S. while you wait, Form I-131 (optional).

The filing location depends on where you are located in the U.S., remember that the application that is not mailed to the appropriate filing location will experience processing delays. Please click here, to locate the appropriate mailing address for your application.

An immigrant spouse who currently lives in Oklahoma must mail their Form I-485 to the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox:

U.S. Postal Service (USPS):

USCIS

Attn: AOS

P.O. Box 20500

Phoenix, AZ 85036-0500

FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

USCIS

Attn: AOS (Box 20500)

1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S

Suite 100

Phoenix, AZ 85034-4850

Step 3: If you correctly filled the forms and submitted the required documents, and an immigrant visa is allocated under the F2A visa category, Form I-485 will be approved. Upon approval, the USCIS mails your immigrant spouse a Form I-551, Green Card.

If your spouse is outside the country and has an immigrant visa available, he or she must complete the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, Form DS-260. They must pay the $325 DS-260 fee and submit it along with Form I-864 which has a $120 filing fee. They must print Form DS-260 and bring it with them to their visa interview at the U.S. Consular or Embassy. Form DS-260 must be completed online by visiting the U.S. Department of State website, under Consular Electronic Application Center.

Can I sponsor my child if I have a green card?

Yes, if you are a green card holder, under U.S. immigration law, you may petition for your child to immigrate to the U.S. as a permanent resident. Under the second preference (2A) category, a minor child of a green card holder is qualified to immigrate; while under the second preference (2B) category, an unmarried adult son or daughter of a green card holder is qualified to immigrate. It’s important to note that, for immigration, USCIS defines a child as an unmarried person under the age of 21. If the person is over the age of 21 or married, under immigration law, they are a son or daughter. A child who is under the age of 21 and unmarried falls under the 2A family preference category and; thereby is afforded a higher immigration preference as compared to a son or daughter, who falls under the 2B family preference category.

Step 1: As a green card holder you must first file a petition on behalf of your child or a son or daughter, also called Form I-130. Generally, the purpose and the application process of the petition are identical to that of the process for an alien spouse. You may file this form online or by mail; if you decide to file by mail, click here to access the Form I-130, or if you decide to file online instead, click here to open a new USCIS account or log into an existing one.

The following documents are required to correctly file the Petition for your alien child, or a son or daughter, Form I-130:

  • Completely and accurately filled out Form I-130.
  • Form G-1145, E-Notification of Petition Acceptance (optional).
  • Proof of your (Petitioner) permanent resident status.
  • If you are the mother, the child’s birth certificate with your name; if you are the father, the birth certificate with both parents’ names, and the marriage certificate to the child’s mother.
  • Proof of legal name changes, if applicable.
  • Two passport-size photographs of both you and your child.
  • Filing fee of $535, check or a money order made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The filing location depends on where you are located in the U.S., remember that the petition that is not mailed to the appropriate filing location will experience processing delays. Please click here, to locate the appropriate mailing address for your petition.

A petitioner who is a resident of Oklahoma must mail their Form I-130 to the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox:

U.S. Postal Service (USPS):

USCIS

Attn: I-130

P.O. Box 21700

Phoenix, AZ 85036-1700

FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

USCIS

Attn: I-130 (Box 21700)

1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S

Suite 100

Phoenix, AZ 85034-4850

Step 2: Upon a complete and successful submission of the petition, the USCIS will mail you (the petitioner) an I-797 approval notice. If you can demonstrate your relationship with your child, the USCIS generally approves the petition. Unlike the child of a U.S. citizen, a child of a green card holder is subject to annual visa limitations. Therefore, he or she must wait until a visa is available under the family second preference category (F2A) – that is, when your priority date is current. If your adult son or daughter is over the age of 21, he or she must wait until a visa is available under the family second preference category (F2B). It’s imperative to note that, you may not file a petition on behalf of a married son or daughter. Therefore if your son or daughter is married before immigrating or adjusting status to lawful permanent resident, the USCIS will deny the petition.

The filing fee for Form I-485 is $1,225 including an $85 biometric fee, which must be completed by the primary applicant, your beneficiary child. If your child is 13 years of age or younger, he or she does not have to pay the $85 biometric fee.

The following documents are required to correctly file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence by the immigrant child:

  • Completely and accurately filled out Form I-485.
  • Copy of a government-issued identity document, passport for example.
  • Birth certificate issued by the country of birth.
  • Passport page with the admission stamp.
  • Form I-94, Arrival-Departure record.
  • Copy of approval of the notice, Form I-797 for the I-130 Petition.
  • Proof of relationship with the sponsor, birth certificate with the parent’s name.
  • Affidavit of Support with supporting documents signed by the sponsor parent, Form I-864.
  • Report of medical examination and vaccination record, Form I-693.
  • Any criminal charges, arrests, or convictions records.
  • Filing fee of $1,225, check or a money order made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Application for employment authorization while you wait, Form I-765 (optional).
  • Application for a travel document if you must leave the U.S. while you wait, Form I-131 (optional).

The filing location depends on where you are located in the U.S., remember that the application that is not mailed to the appropriate filing location will experience processing delays. Please click here, to locate the appropriate mailing address for your petition.

An immigrant child who currently lives in Oklahoma must mail their Form I-485 to the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox:

U.S. Postal Service (USPS):

USCIS

Attn: AOS

P.O. Box 20500

Phoenix, AZ 85036-0500

FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

USCIS

Attn: AOS (Box 20500)

1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S

Suite 100

Phoenix, AZ 85034-4850

Step 3: If you correctly filled the forms and submitted the required documents, and an immigrant visa is allocated under F2A or F2B visa category, Form I-485 will be approved. Upon approval, the USCIS mails your immigrant child a Form I-551, Green Card.

If your child is outside the country and has an immigrant visa available, he or she must complete the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, Form DS-260. They must pay the $325 DS-260 fee and submit it along with Form I-864 which has a $120 filing fee. They must print Form DS-260 and bring it with them to their visa interview at the U.S. Consular or Embassy. Form DS-260 must be completed online by visiting the U.S. Department of State website, under Consular Electronic Application Center.

Can I sponsor my parents if I have a green card?

No, a permanent resident (green card holder) may not petition their parent (mother or father) to sponsor them to immigrate to the U.S. as a permanent resident. The family members that a green card holder can sponsor for a green card are spouses, children, adults unmarried sons, and daughters. You must be a U.S. citizen and over the age of 21 to file an I-130 Petition to sponsor your parent for a green card.

Can I sponsor my sibling if I have a green card?

No, a permanent resident (green card holder) may not petition their sibling (brother or sister) to sponsor them to immigrate to the U.S. as a permanent resident. The family members that a green card holder can sponsor for a green card are spouses, children, adult unmarried sons, and daughters. You must be a U.S. citizen and over the age of 21 to file an I-130 Petition to sponsor your sibling for a green card.

Can I sponsor a non-family member if I have a green card?

Unfortunately, no. Neither a U.S. citizen nor a permanent resident may sponsor a non-family member to help them immigrate to the U.S. as a permanent resident. Under federal immigration laws, the only way you can sponsor a non-family member is, if you are an employer of the non-citizen and file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.

Should I wait until I am a citizen to sponsor a family member?

The short answer: it depends. As we have discussed earlier, a U.S. citizen enjoys some privileges under immigration laws that a permanent resident does not. Congress so prefers immediate relatives of the citizens that they are not subject to annual numerical limitations. In other words, spouses and children of U.S. citizens are allotted unlimited visas annually. Other the other hand, the spouse and unmarried children of a green card holder are subject to annual numerical visa limitations – and therefore must wait in “line” for their visa. As a result, a U.S. citizen’s petition to sponsor an immediate family member or unmarried sons and daughters is processed much faster than that of a green card holder. If you are qualified to be a U.S. citizen by naturalization or will be shortly, then it may be beneficial to wait until you receive your citizenship before sponsoring a relative.

Do I need to hire an immigration lawyer to sponsor a family member in Oklahoma City?

In most cases no, you do not need to hire an immigration lawyer to sponsor a family member for a green card. However, it’s imperative that you correctly fill out Form I-130, and I-485 and completely submit the required documents to prevent delay or denials of your application. The immigration process can be long and daunting. You may be unsure of what to expect from the process. You do not have to navigate the legal maze alone. Vivid Niroula is an Oklahoma City-based Immigration Attorney with a solid understanding of Immigration Laws. He prides himself on providing the highest level of service and will help you at every step of the process.

Call the law office of Vivid Niroula today at (405) 456-9250 or contact us via our website to schedule a free consultation. We can meet in person, over the phone, or via a video call for your convenience.