A person who is married to a U.S. citizen, or is a direct relative to one, can qualify to become a legal permanent resident based on the relationship.
If you are married to a U.S. citizen or are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you may qualify to become a lawful permanent resident (get a Green Card) based on that relationship.
You are an immediate relative if you are:
• Married to a U.S. Citizen;
• An unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. citizen; or
• The parent of a U.S. citizen.
As an “immediate relative” by law there are no quota restrictions, this means that a green card is immediately available, and one can apply right away.
The laws and eligibility surrounding a marriage-based green card are complex and consist of a multi-step process. The process begins with the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. Generally, once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) approves the petition you are ready for the next step, the Green Card application. As an “immediate relative” your Green Card is immediately available, you do not have to wait.
Depending on your situation, you can apply in the following manners:
• If you (the husband or wife of a U.S. citizen) are already in the United States and have entered legally you may apply for an I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjustment of Status. Note: entering the United States illegally marks you ineligible for this application.
• If you (the husband or wife of a U.S. citizen) are outside the United States, then you should apply for an immigrant visa with the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country.
As part of the application process, the applicant is required to prove the legitimate marriage. Our experienced attorneys can assist you by organizing your documents, preparing the application correctly, preparing you for the interview and accompanying you to the interview.
A U.S. citizen can sponsor or petition for their child. According to immigration law in order to be considered an immediate relative the child must be unmarried and under 21 years of age. Additionally, a U.S. citizen may create a parent-child relationship and may apply for a I-130, Petition for Alien Relative:
• stepparent can petition for their stepchild as long as the marriage that created the relationship took place before the child turned 18 years of age.
• A parent may petition for an adopted child as long as the adoption took place before the child turned 16 years of age.
As mentioned previously, if you qualify as an “immediate relative” child, your visa is immediately available, and you do not have to wait. If you are already in the United States, you may apply for Adjustment of Status while if you are outside the country you will apply through the consulate.
If you are the parent of a U.S. citizen you are considered an immediate relative. This multi-step process begins by your U.S. citizen child, your son or daughter must be 21 years of age or older, petitioning for you by applying for the I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Just like all other immediate relatives, the next step will be defined by your current location, if you are already in the United States, you may apply for Adjustment of Status while if you are outside the country you will apply through the consulate.