Helping Determine the Right Option for Your Needs
An individual’s eligibility for a green card depends on his or her family relationships, his or her current immigration status and his or her U.S. immigration history.
If you are a U.S. citizen, you can apply for a green card for your spouse, child, or parent (those in the immediate relative category) who has entered the country legally, even if he or she overstayed their visa. In these situations, you may apply immediately for adjustment of status (a green card) in the United States and there is no wait list. Your application may be processed in as little as four months if you are in the United States.
If you are a U.S. citizen and you would like to sponsor your adult child (over the age of 21) or your sibling for a green card in the U.S., your family member will be subject to a wait list, as there are a limited number of these petitions available each year. Additionally, in most cases, if your adult child or sibling is already inside the U.S., he or she must have entered the U.S. legally and currently be “in status” in order to be eligible.
There are certain exceptions for those in the U.S. who may have filed a petition with USCIS or the Department of Labor prior to April 30, 2001. It is important to discuss whether your loved one qualifies to adjust his or her status and obtain his or her permanent residence in the United States.
If you are an immediate relative and have not entered the United States legally or filed an application prior to April 30, 2001, you may be eligible for a provisional waiver. Please see the page on provisional waivers.
On June 26, 2013, The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal benefits to couples in same-sex marriages. This means that U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can sponsor their same-sex partners for green cards and same-sex spouses can be included as derivatives in their partners’ family and employment-based green card applications. The striking down of DOMA also makes it easier for immigrants to join their spouses in the U.S. in most nonimmigrant visa categories.
If you are married for fewer than two years when you receive your marriage-based green card, you must file to remove the condition within 90 days of the card’s expiration. It is important to maintain your joint documents over the years to demonstrate to the immigration service that you are still in a bona fide marriage. We understand that unfortunately things happen and marriages do not work out. If you find yourself in a situation where the marriage is not going as planned, and divorce proceedings have commenced or may soon commence, we can assist you with the conditional residence as well.
Don’t Lose Your Status
The key to protecting your residency is ensuring that you don’t violate U.S. criminal or immigration laws. Once you obtain your residency, you can lose it easily. We will discuss this while going through the process of obtaining your status, as well as ensuring you obtain it properly so your status is not compromised at a later date.
Contact Our NYC Lawyers for Help With Green Card Applications
If you have questions about how to obtain a green card for a spouse, fiancé, or other member of your family, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Cheryl R. David for an initial consultation in New York City. We look forward to working with you.
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