Thousands of people enter into relationships with US citizens and green card holders every year to obtain a marriage or family-based green card. The purpose of marriage and family immigration is to allow US citizens and permanent residents to petition certain family members to live with them in the United States.
Each year millions of green card applications are received from different parts of the world. However, according to Statista, Mexico was the country that received the highest number of green cards in the US, i.e., 100,325, in the Fiscal year 2020.
The process begins by filing a petition with USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) on behalf of your spouse, parent, or possibly another relative. The spouse or parent must then attend an interview at a local USCIS office, where they will have their fingerprints taken and undergo background checks.
After this interview, if everything goes well, the applicant will receive a written decision saying whether or not they are eligible for a green card. The applicants need to understand the requirements and process before they start applying on their own.
Understand Your Situation
It’s important to know how to determine if you are eligible to file for a green card and which pathway is best for your particular situation.
Understand the different types of green cards, including marriage and family, employment-based, and special immigrant visas. You will need this information when determining which attorney is right for you.
Understand the filing fees and requirements associated with each type of green card. Some require more paperwork than others. It is advised to take the help of an immigration lawyer before applying for the same.
A reputed US immigration law firm will help you get through it. An experienced immigration lawyer can guide you through each step and help ensure your application is approved quickly and accurately.
Prepare the Required Documentation and Forms
Your immigration lawyer will help you gather the necessary documentation and forms. They will also make sure that they are properly completed and submitted according to the requirements of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The basic documents required include the following:
- Proof of your relationship with your spouse or family member
- Proof of identity, eligibility, and status in your country of residence.
- Proof that you plan to return home after the stay in the US, if applicable
Determine if You are Eligible to File
If you and your spouse are both legal residents of the United States, then you may be eligible to file a marriage-based green card application. The first thing that your immigration attorney will do is determine whether or not either of you is eligible to apply for a green card based on your marriage.
If either of you is not a US citizen, then there must be an exception for one of them to obtain lawful permanent residence. There are several different ways an immigrant can qualify for this type of exception. However, you must meet certain criteria in each case. For the USCIS officer to review your case when it’s being adjudicated, make sure everything checks out before approving.
Diversity Immigrant Visa Program or Green Card Lottery: The US Government offers the DV program or the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, making approximately 50000 visas available to individuals annually. It is made available through a random selection, and candidates from countries with low immigration rates have more chances of getting selected. The US Department of State endorses the DV program.
Explain the Different Pathways to Obtaining a Green Card
When a person wants to immigrate to the United States, they must first apply for a green card. Different green cards allow non-citizens to reside permanently in the US, including family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, and refugee/asylum status.
Each type of visa has its eligibility requirements and benefits.
Family-Based Immigration: If you marry or have children who are US citizens or permanent residents (green card holders), you may be eligible for this type of visa. Your spouse or parent should not have any criminal record or history of abuse or violence towards you or other family members. You must also show evidence that you can financially support yourself while living in America without relying on public assistance programs.
According to US immigration law, first preference is given to the sons and daughters of US citizens over 21 years of age, followed by other members.
Employment-Based Green Card: If an employer sponsors your application for permanent residency based on their need for skilled workers in specialized fields such as medicine, science, engineering technology, etc., it is a perfect option for you.
Complete Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
The first step in applying for a marriage-based green card is to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The US citizen spouse must submit this form on behalf of their foreign national spouse. A family member can also file Form I-130 on their relative’s behalf if they cannot do it themselves.
If you were already living in the US, your visa petition is considered “immediate relative” based. Therefore, it does not require any waiting period before receiving an interview appointment or being able to apply for an adjustment of status (i-485).
File Your Green Card Application With USCIS
If you are a US citizen seeking to sponsor your spouse, parent, or child for a green card, you must first file Form I-130 with USCIS. This form notifies the federal government of your intent to petition for one of these family members and initiates the process for obtaining their green card.
Once you complete this form and submit it along with relevant supporting documentation, USCIS will send back an approval notice that gives its seal of approval for your petition.
Help You Through Each Step of the Application Process
An immigration lawyer can help you through each step of the application process, ensuring that your paperwork is properly filed and submitted promptly. It will help you avoid any costly delays or problems with your petition.
Your attorney will also be able to explain each step of the process to you so that there are no surprises along the way. He or she will also be there for you throughout this time, answering your questions, providing guidance, and ensuring that all goes smoothly from start to finish.
This guide has helped you understand the process of obtaining a green card based on marriage or family. Know the basics of the immigration process. Before you hire an immigration attorney, make sure you understand the process and any concerns surrounding your case.
If you’re not eligible for a green card, find out if your spouse is. Then, prepare for your green card interview by gathering documents and filling out any application forms provided by USCIS.