Canadian citizens with relatives who are U.S. citizens may be able to obtain a green card if certain and specific relationships exist. Different categories of relatives dictate whether, and how soon, you can get a green card.
One category is known as “immediate relatives,” which includes: 1) spouses of U.S. citizens; 2) parents of U.S. citizens who are over 21; and 3) children of U.S. citizens who are under 21. Any Canadian citizen who falls under one of these categories are immediately eligible for a green card without having to wait for an immigrant visa to become available based on a priority date. Assuming that the application process goes smoothly, a Canadian citizen can anticipate receiving a green card within one year of filing the application.
Family preference categories
If you do not fall into one of the “immediate relative” categories, do not despair. There are other categories known as “family preference categories” which may still allow a relative to petition for a green card on your behalf. These relationships include: 1) unmarried sons or daughters (over 21) of U.S. citizens; 2) married children of U.S. citizens who are of any age; 3) brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who are over 21; and 4) spouses or children of U.S. green card holders. Unfortunately, individuals born in Canada seeking a green card under a family preference category will have to wait several years before a visa becomes available. If you are looking to obtain a green card through this route, you may want to explore other options – including marriage to a U.S. citizen, investing in an EB-5 green card, or obtaining a green card through employment.
Non-eligible family categories
The following relatives cannot sponsor you for a green card even if they are U.S. citizens: Cousins, aunts/uncles, nephews/nieces, grandparents, step-brothers/sisters, half-siblings, in-laws, and family friends.