Our Law Firm Specializes in Handling Greencard Applications Based on Marriage or other family relationships. Whether your case is straightforward or complicated, we ensure that the process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible, and that our clients ALWAYS are informed and can speak to their attorney.
If you are married to a U.S. citizen, your U.S. citizen husband or wife can file a greencard application for you. If you entered the country with a visa (or via the visa waiver program), you can get your greencard in the U.S. If you did not properly enter the U.S., the process is a bit more complicated. In some situations, a person can still get their greencard in the U.S.; however, in many cases the person will have to return home for a period of time before securing their greencard.
If you are eligible to apply for a greencard within the United States based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, you are also eligible to apply for work permission (a employment authorization document, or “EAD”) and travel permission (“advance parole”) so that you can work and travel during the process. Permission to work and travel will generally arrive 90 days after filing your application. You cannot work (unless currently authorized to work based on immigration status) or travel until you receive your EAD/AP card. Even upon receiving this document, you should always speak with an attorney first before working or traveling outside of the United States.
In addition to marriage to a U.S. Citizen, other family members of U.S. citizens also have a right to become permanent residents of this country (get their “greencards”) based on their relationship to a U.S. citizen. These individuals are deemed “Immediate Relatives” of U.S. citizens and are not subject to the often long waiting periods applicable to individuals in other family preference categories. These individuals include:
- Husbands and Wives of U.S. citizens
- Unmarried children under 21 of U.S. citizens
- Parents of U.S. citizens (if the U.S. citizen is over the age of 21)
Other relatives of U.S. citizens also have a right to become permanent residents of the U.S., but they have to wait for often long periods of time until a visa is available for them to become LPRs. These individuals include:
- Unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21
- Married children of any age
- Brothers and sisters (if the U.S. citizen petitioner is over the age of 21)
Certain relatives of Lawful Permanent Residents also have a right to become LPRs, but also have to wait long periods of time after filing an initial application before they can become LPRs. These individuals include:
- Spouses of LPRs
- Unmarried children of any age of LPRs
Despite the fact that non-Immediate Relatives of U.S. citizens and relatives of LPRs often have to wait for a period of time before they become LPRs, the only way to establish their place in line is to file the first part of the application (Form I-130) as soon as possible.
Before filing Form I-130, it is very important to speak with an immigration attorney in order to evaluate whether there are other issues, such as previous immigration or criminal violations, that could prevent a person from becoming a LPR despite their relationship to a U.S. citizen or LPR.