Green Cards for Family Members
Green cards can be obtained through marriage to a U.S. citizen or green card holder. Green cards can also be obtained for children and parents. The time that it takes to obtain permanent residence status for a family member based upon a relative petition can be considerable and varies, depending on a number of factors, including:
- the family relationship,
- the beneficiary’s country of origin,
- in the case of a spouse – where the marriage took place,
- the current backlogs for immigrant visas,
- whether the beneficiary is abroad or currently in the United States, and
- the priority date. For current dates please see the Visa Bulletin.
- Children (unmarried and under age 21), and
- Parents of US Citizens:
There is no limit on the number of immigrant visas for “Immediate Relatives,” meaning that they may be immediately eligible for “greencard” status which includes the right to live and work in the US on a permanent basis. Marriage-based greencards for new marriages are conditional for two years, after which an application to remove conditions must be filed.
Preference Category Relatives
All other relatives of US citizens or lawful permanent residents must qualify for an immigrant visa under one of the four family-based preference categories. These include:
- Unmarried sons and daughters (over 21) of US citizens;
- Spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents or greencard holders;
- Married sons and daughters of US citizens;
- Siblings of US citizens.
K1 Visa – Fiancee Visa for U.S. Citizens
The K1 visa (Fiancee Visa) permits the K1 visa holder to enter the US for a 90-day period to marry the petitioner and apply for permanent residence (green card) and obtain a work permit. Once the visa is issued, the K1 visa holder has six months to enter the US for the purpose of marriage.
Children of the K1 visa applicant may obtain a K2 visa to enter the US together.
K3/CR1-Marriage Visa for Spouses of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents
A marriage visa, or is when you apply for your spouse to obtain a green card, the only difference is that the spouse is not present in the United States. Thus, a marriage visa is required in order for the spouse to enter the U.S.A. When the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident arrives at port of entry with a marriage visa, an immigration agent stamps a green card into their passport.
The information contained on this site should not be viewed as legal advice and should not be relied upon without specific legal counsel being sought. Each individual has unique needs and circumstances. Please contact the immigration lawyer to arrange a consultation regarding family-based immigration.