Family-Based Green Cards

Family Sponsorship: Green Cards For Your Relatives

Arlington Immigration Attorney Oti W. Nwosu, has over 10 years experience obtaining nonimmigrant and immigrant visas, family sponsorships, defending clients against deportation, applying for asylum and withholding of removal, and litigating mandamus lawsuits for stalled naturalization applications.

Ms. Nwosu has been practicing immigration law in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and in the Federal courts and agencies since 2001. She has processed numerous green card applications for relatives and will be happy to assist you.

United States citizens and lawful permanent residents can sponsor certain relatives for permanent residents in the United States.  The relatives that have been designated as eligible for family-sponsored permanent residence are called “Immediate Relatives” and are grouped into different classifications.

Immediate Relatives

“Immediate Relatives” of U.S. citizens are the spouses, parents, and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of U.S. citizens.  Family-sponsored immigrant visas for relatives other than immediate relatives are subject to numerical limitations and are categorized as follows:

  • First category (F1): for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
  • Second category (F2A and F2B): for spouses and children of permanent residents (F2A) and unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of permanent residents (F2B).
  • Third category (F3): for married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
  • Fourth category (F4): for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older.

A cap applies to the number of family-sponsored immigrants that can be admitted annually to the United States.  Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are not subject to the numerical restrictions on visas that are applicable to relatives in the other family-based visa categories.  In addition, limitations exist within each family-based category on the number of visas that are available to relatives from each foreign state.  Consequently, visa backlogs exist for some of the preference categories.

Immigration Based on Marriage

If you are U.S. citizen or have lawful permanent residents and want to apply for an immigrant visa for your spouse, you must meet certain requirements and legal obligations.  You must demonstrate to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), that you and your immigrating spouse have a bona fide marriage.

In general, a marriage that was valid where performed is considered legal unless it violates public policy. Additionally, as a petitioner you must establish that the marriage was not entered into for the purpose of evading immigration laws. It is possible that a marriage may not be recognized for immigration purposes despite being a legal marriage.

Marriage-based immigration has been subject to controversy due to the fact that the bona fides of a marriage relationship often cannot be objectively measured. Your marriage is considered to be valid for immigration purposes if, you as a couple intended to establish a life together and assume certain duties and obligations. If it is found that the sole intention to enter into a marriage was to secure the immigrating spouse’s residency in the United States, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will consider the marriage to be fraudulent, or a “sham,” and not valid for immigration purposes.

For more information about the types of visas available to spouses and fiancées of U.S. citizens, please see the “Fiancée and Spouse Visas” section.

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