Green Cards for Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens

"Immediate relatives" of U.S. Citizens are defined as the spouse, parent or unmarried child who is also under the age of 21. For immediate relatives, visas are immediately available. This does not mean that you can obtain a green card immediately. It simply means that you do not need to wait in long "visa lines" in order to begin the green card process for your immediate relative.

In most cases, if your immediate relative entered the United States legally, but they have overstayed their status or have worked without authorization, they may still be able to obtain a green card based on the sponsorship of the U.S. Citizen relative. Generally, if the immediate relative entered the United States illegally, the green card application will not be approved unless the immediate relative is a beneficiary of provisions under the Immigration and Nationality Act section 245(i). Section 245(i) permits applicants for whom a petition was filed on or before April 30, 2001 and who entered the United States illegally before that date to file an approvable petition despite the illegal entry.

With respect to the spouse of a U.S. Citizen, if the marriage is less than 2 years old on the date of the green card interview, the spouse will receive "conditional residence". In these cases, the green card will be valid for a period of 2 years. During the 90 day window immediately preceding the expiration date of the green card, the U.S. Citizen and the spouse will need to file a petition to remove the conditions. To do so, they must demonstrate that they have a bona fide marriage and that the marriage was not entered into for purposes of obtaining an immigration benefit. If this application is approved, the spouse will receive a full 10 year green card.

When the U.S. Citizen and his spouse have been married for more than 2 years as of the date of the green card interview, the spouse will receive a 10 year green card.

This process can be exciting, overwhelming and confusing. Attorney Tanner can help you clarify the process and facilitate the process for you so that you may spend less time worrying about the process and more time enjoying the time with your family members.

Contact us by email or by calling 717-836-0471 to set up an appointment with attorney Tabetha Tanner.