The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides special Immigration priorities for the immediate family members of US citizens. Immediate family members include spouses of the US citizens, their children and also their parents. Children who are below the age of 21 (minor category) and are unmarried only are included in this category. To sponsor parents, US citizens must be above the age of 21.
The special immigration priorities include not being subject to numerical limitations. They need not wait in line for immigration visa numbers to open up. Those whose immediate family members are abroad, can file the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative on their behalf. This process is for obtaining a permanent resident (Green Card Status) through consular processing. The USCIS works with the U.S Department of State and issue the immigration visa once the Form I-130 is approved.
If the immigrant petitioner is already in the U.S as a non-immigrant, Adjustment of Status process can be applied for. This means instead of returning to their native countries to obtain an immigrant visa, they can apply for the same by adjusting their status through this process. Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence can be filed by the applicants themselves or Form I-130 Adjust Status Concurrently can be filed on behalf of the applicant by their sponsor.
The process time for Form I-130, application for Green card for immediate family members of U.S citizens is usually faster than the other categories in order to bring families together quicker. Only the immediate family members of U.S citizens are eligible for the special immigration priority, this special category cannot be applied to other relatives of the U.S citizens.
Relatives and family members of the U.S citizens, brothers, sisters, children who are above 21 and/or married can also be sponsored. The visa application for the family members are subject to numerical limitations. Immigrant visa numbers for relatives are limited and so the applicant must wait for a longer period of time.