The DV lottery winner gets unconditional LPR status for him/herself and also eligible children. However, people will often wonder how they can bring other family members. That is where Family based immigration comes in.


As an LPR (Green Card Holder)

An LPR can petition immediately for:-

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried son or daughter

A spouse or a child under 21 years old would be in the F2A category, whilst an unmarried child 21 or over would be in the F2B category. There are waiting periods for these visas and the process is lengthier than the DV process. So – the LPR should anticipate around a 2 year process to obtain a Green Card for a new spouse or child under 21, longer if the child is over 21. Check the latest visa bulletin to see category preference dates.


After gaining citizenship

After 5 years (3 if married to a US citizen) an LPR can apply for citizenship. Doing so opens up more possibilities for sponsoring family members. A citizen can petition for:-

  • Spouse
  • Son or daughter
  • Parent
  • Brother or sister

A citizen can sponsor an “immediate relative” (spouse, unmarried child under 21, and parents, if the citizen is over 21) with no waiting period. For other relatives, the relative would be placed in line according to the following categories.

  • Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens – (F1 around 7 years wait, more for Mexico and Philipines)
  • Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens – (F3 – currently around 11 year wait)
  • Brothers and sisters – (F4 – currently around 12 year wait)


Be sure to check the visa bulletin to confirm these timelines – as these are approximate timelines at this time.