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Relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are eligible to apply for Family-Based Green Cards within five different categories (preferences).
The number of immigrant visas available for each preference is limited by the U.S. government, except for immediate relatives, such as spouses or unmarried children under the age of 21. In order to sponsor a foreign national relative, the sponsor must prove that he/she has the financial ability to support the relative, and file an application with the USCIS.
Waiting times vary depending on the preference category and the relative’s nationality. To check current waiting times for Family-Based Green Cards, check the USCIS January 2014 Visa Bulletin here.