Green Cards for Unmarried Adult Children of U.S. Citizens

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First Preference (F1)

If you are a naturalized U.S. citizen, your unmarried adult children are eligible to come and live permanently in the U.S.

U.S. immigration law currently allows family migration—or chain migration. That means U.S. citizens and green-card holders (legal permanent residents) can file family petitions on behalf of close relatives to enable them to immigrate to the U.S. and reunify with family.

In addition, immigration law allows adult relatives to apply for a work permit using Form 765 (Application for Employment Authorization) while their green card application is pending.

The Alcorn Immigration Law team can help with both the green card process whether your relative is in the U.S. or another country.

Eligibility Requirements

A U.S. citizen must be at least 21 years old to apply for a green card for an unmarried child 21 years of age or older. You should be cautious about timing. Speak with an immigration attorney about the process.

If you have a parent who is a U.S. citizen, you are eligible for a green card if:

  • You are 21 years or older.
  • You are not married.

Each relative who comes to the U.S. based on a family petition must have a financial sponsor. If your parent will be your financial sponsor, your parent must file Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support). If your parent doesn’t meet the financial qualifications, another individual will need to make the commitment and file Form I-864 on your behalf.

Application Process

The grown child of a U.S. citizen may apply for a green card from either inside or outside the United States.

If the adult child the U.S. citizen is already in the U.S. legally, the applicant must be cautious about the timing of the filing. As stated before, we recommend consulting an immigration attorney. Once that is done, one way to apply is as follows:

  • The U.S. citizen files Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)
  • After it gets approved and the priority date becomes current, the foreign adult child is eligible to finalize the green card process.
  • The adult child fills out Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), while
  • The financial sponsor must fill out Form I-864.
  • Submit all forms along with all supporting evidence to USCIS.

If the adult child of the U.S. citizen is outside the U.S., that individual may apply to become a permanent resident at a U.S. embassy or consulate. To apply:

  • The U.S. citizen must fill out and submit Form I-130 and supporting evidence to USCIS.
  • Await the approval and the priority date.
  • The financial sponsor must submit Form I-864 and supporting evidence to USCIS.
  • If USCIS approves the petitions, the U.S. Department of State will invite the individual to apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.
  • The applicant should pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee after receiving an immigrant visa packet from the U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling to the U.S.
  • Once the applicant is in the U.S., the applicant should submit Form I-485 along with supporting evidence to USCIS for a green card.

We Can Help

Figuring out immigration law can be difficult, confusing, and time consuming. The Alcorn Immigration Law team can help. Questions? Contact us.


  • Fees
    • $1,140 for Form I-485
    • $535 for Form I-130
    • $120 for Form I-864 if form is filed in the U.S.
    • $165 USCIS Immigrant Fee if immigrating to the U.S. from abroad
    • $85 biometrics service fee for green card applicants ages 14 to 78
  • Related Forms
    • Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status)
    • Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)
    • Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support)
    • Other forms may be required depending on your situation.
  • Steps
    • File Form I-129 to USCIS if living in the U.S. or online Form DS-160 and Form DS-156E to U.S. State Department if living outside the U.S.
    • If living outside of the U.S., have a visa interview.
    • Initial petition up to 2 years.
    • Unlimited extensions every 2 years.
  • Immigrant Intent
    • Yes, you intend to live permanently in the U.S.
  • Who Qualifies
    • Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens
  • Period of Stay
    • Lifetime