U.S. citizens and permanent residents may sponsor certain family members for green cards or permanent residence. U.S. citizens may sponsor their spouses, children, parents (if child is 21 or older), and siblings. Permanent residents may only sponsor their spouses and unmarried children.
How quickly a sponsored relative becomes a Legal Permanent Resident depends on the status of the sponsor and the relationship between the family member and the sponsor. Normally, a U.S. citizen (USC) or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) would file an immigrant petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). This USC or LPR is called the sponsor. The relative for whom the immigration petition is filed is called the beneficiary.
U.S. citizens can also sponsor their fiancés/fiancées under the K visa program.
TYPES OF VISAS
I-130 Family-based petitions
For Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States to establish relationships with relatives who wish to immigrate to the United States.
Note: A separate form must be filed for each eligible relative. USCIS processes Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, as a visa number becomes available. The filing and approval of an I-130 is only the first step in helping a relative immigrate to the United States. Eligible family members must wait until there is a visa number available before they can apply for an immigrant visa or adjust status to a lawful permanent resident.
I-751 Removal of conditions after divorce
This petition is used by a conditional resident who obtained status through marriage, to request that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) remove the conditions on his or her residence.
If you were granted conditional resident status through marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, use Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, to file for the removal of those conditions. If you have dependent children who acquired conditional resident status on the same day as you or within 90 days thereafter, then include the names and Alien Registration Numbers (A-Numbers) of these children in Part 5. of Form I-751 in order to request that the conditions on their status be removed as well. If you have dependent children who did not acquire conditional resident status on the same day as you or within 90 days thereafter, or if the conditional resident parent is deceased, then those dependent children must each file Form I-751 separately to have the conditions on their status removed.
If you are still married, then file Form I-751 jointly with your spouse through whom you obtained conditional status. However, you may file Form I-751 without your spouse if:
You entered the marriage in good faith, but your spouse subsequently died;
You entered the marriage in good faith, but the marriage was later terminated due to divorce or annulment;
You entered the marriage in good faith, but you have been battered or subject to extreme cruelty by your petitioning spouse; or
Your conditional resident parent entered the marriage in good faith, but you have been battered or subject to extreme cruelty by your parent’s U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or by your conditional resident parent; or
The termination of your status and removal from the United States would result in extreme hardship.