Follow to join benefits allow the spouses and children of lawful permanent residents of the United States to get green cards at a later time than their spouses or parents did. This benefit is available to the eligible dependents of those who got their green cards based on family sponsorship, employment or through the diversity visa lottery program. Dependents of immigrants who received green cards in the United States based on an immediate relative petition are not eligible for follow to join benefits.
Permanent residents need to file Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, for their spouses or children who are eligible for follow to join benefits. USCIS will grant the eligible spouses or children permanent resident status in the same preference category as their permanent resident spouses or parents. They need not wait for visa numbers to become available as visas will be issued to them immediately.
At the time of filing Form I-824, applicants must prove that a family relationship existed between them and the beneficiaries even before they became permanent residents. Also, spouses and the children of the applicants must have been living abroad when the applicants entered the United States with their green cards or adjusted their status to permanent residence from within the country.
Children must be below age 21 to qualify for follow to join benefits. They must be the applicant’s biological or adopted children. Children born after the applicants became lawful residents and their married children are not eligible for follow to join benefits.
Form I-824 must be filed with a proof of lawful permanent resident status for which the applicants must submit copies of their green cards. They should also establish that their spouses or children are eligible for such benefits.
Once the permanent residents file this form with the USCIS, the agency will review their applications and forward them to the appropriate U.S. consulates or embassies in the countries where the beneficiaries of those petitions are living. The beneficiaries need to file applications for immigrant visas after they are requested to do so by the local embassies or consulates. Beneficiaries need to appear for immigrant visa interviews and medical examinations. If they are eligible to immigrate to America, immigrant visas will be issued to them. Those visas will allow them to get into the United States and join their spouses or parents as permanent residents.