The foreign citizen applying for a family-based green card. U.S. immigration agencies sometimes call the applicant the “beneficiary”, because he or she “benefits” from the sponsor’s filing.

A difference needs to be made between ‘principal’ and ‘derivative’ applicants.

  • Principal applicants have a direct family relationship with sponsors. They can be the children, adult children, spouse, sibling, or parent of the sponsor. They apply for a family Green Card directly.
  • Derivative applicants do not apply for a family Green Card directly. They apply ‘through’ the principal applicant because –>
    • They are either the child or the spouse of the principal applicant, and;
    • The principal applicant is eligible under a ‘preference’ category (F1, F2A, F2B, F3, F4) that allows derivative applicants (immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens are not allowed to have derivative applicants on their I-130, I-485, DS-260)