One method of obtaining lawful permanent residency is through a qualifying relative who is either a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident. United States citizens and lawful permanent residents can help their qualifying foreign relatives in petitioning for lawful permanent residency in the United States and eventually even citizenship. There are different categories family-based immigration. The category a foreign national falls into depend upon two factors: (1) whether the petitioning relative is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; and (2) the foreign national relationship to the petitioning relative.
There are two categories of unlimited family-based immigration: immediate relatives of United States citizens and returning residents. An immediate relative can be a spouse of a United States citizen, widow of a United States citizen, unmarried child under the age of 21 of a United States citizen, or a parent of an adult United States citizen. Returning residents are immigrants who previously resided in the United States with lawful permanent resident status and are returning to live in the United States after residing abroad for more than one year.