Many people living in the US as a lawful permanent residents like to have their family members to come and join them. Green Card holders or permanent residents are authorized to live and work in the US permanently; they are eligible to sponsor their relatives or family members to become permanent residents too. Most people get a green card through their parents, spouse or siblings living in the US.
Getting a green card for your family is a two step process. The first step is Family Immigration Petition where a qualifying relationship needs to be established between the petitioner who is a US citizen and the Green Card applicant. While sponsoring a family member, The US citizen needs to file an Affidavit of Support, he or she also needs to file a Form I-130 or petition for Alien Relative for the applicant. Once the petition is received, it will be checked for completeness and supporting evidence. If the applicants are the parents of a US citizen, then they come under the category of immediate relatives. However, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and other extended family members do not come under this category.
The question is how long relatives need to wait before they get their green card; immediate relatives can get a green card without worrying about long waiting periods. It is important to remember that only a certain percentage of green cards can go to any one country each year. If a particularly high number of people from a certain country submit petitions, as is often the case with India, Mexico or China, their family members end up waiting longer than others. There are annual limits on the number of green cards that are given out and given the unpredictability of the number of people submitting petitions each year, one cannot exactly predict the waiting period for applicants. As a general rule, applicants in higher preference categories will have a shorter waiting period.
Tips for visiting parents in the US