Green Card Spouse & Family Members
One of the most common methods of applying for permanent residency in US is the green card through a marriage application or through a family reference. Foreign spouses or parents of U.S. citizens are also eligible to submit a green card through marriage application or through a family reference based on their marriage or relationship to their U.S. citizen spouse or parent. Family, fiancé and spouse sponsorships for green card applications often take less time to process if compared to any other visa category. Green Card Spouse & Family Members visa category permits the relatives of US citizens to immigrate easily. Getting married to a US citizen or a lawful permanent residence in US does not automatically provide resident status in the US. Firstly, your US relative files a petition on your behalf, and then you will have to undergo an interview by the US government for admissibility to the US as an immigrant.
However, a spouse or parent of a US citizen primarily requires that the petitioner applies for his/ her visa through a series of categories which may/may not be current at the time your application is approved. A US citizen should be at least 21 years of age in order to apply for a visa for his/her relative.
There are primarily four major categories of family preference:
Adult sons and daughters (above 18 yrs of age) of US citizens.
To be eligible to file a petition the petitioner must qualify one of the following categories:
One must file a petition if you are married to a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
One can file a petition if you are the parent of a child who may have been/ not have been abused by your US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or your children (under 21 years of age and unmarried) as derivative beneficiaries, only if they have not filed their own petition.
One may file a petition if you are a child under 21 years of age and unmarried and who has been abused by a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident parent.
Process of filing a petition for Green Card Spouse & Family Members visa
- 1. Prima Facie Determination: A battered immigrant filing a petition can establish a “prima facie” case are considered as a “qualified alien” for the purpose of eligibility for public benefits under section 501 of the Illegal Immigrant Responsibility and Immigration Reform Act (IIRIRA). Initially, the USCIS reviews the petitions to determine that whether the petitioner has addressed each of the requirements listed above and has provided with some supporting evidences in the form of a statement which addresses each requirement. This is called a prima facie determination.
- 2. Notice of Prima Facie Determination: If the service makes a prima facie determination, the petitioner will receive a Notice of Prima Facie Determination which is valid for 150 days. The notice will then be presented to state and federal agencies which provide public benefits.
- 3. Employment Authorization:> Petitioners and their children (under 21 years of age and unmarried) as derivative beneficiaries who have approved petitions are eligible for an Employment Authorization Card.
- 4. Adjustment to Permanent Resident Status:> Petitioners who qualify as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21) do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available. They have to file to Adjust as a Permanent Resident. Self-petitioners who require a visa number to adjust must wait for a visa number to be available before filing.