Individuals with a qualifying US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident relative can apply to immigrate to the US through a US embassy or consulate abroad. The first step is for the US citizen spouse or relative to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with USCIS (in the United States). Once the relationship (familial or spousal) is confirmed, the petition will be approved and the case will be transferred to the State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) for additional processing. Timing and availability of visas depends on the family relationship and visa preference category.
Once the NVC approves the case, the applicant will be scheduled for an interview at the US consulate or embassy in their country. During the interview, the consular officer will determine the applicant’s eligibility to receive immigrant benefits in the US. Once approved, the applicant will receive their passport containing the US visa within a few weeks. They will then be able to enter the US using the visa and immediately become a Lawful Permanent Resident of the US. The Permanent Resident Card (or “green card”) will then be issued automatically and sent to the applicant’s address in the US.
Here’s how to apply for an: