Marriage Immigration and
Family-Based Sponsorship



Marriage immigration falls under the category of "family-based" immigration. The designation is made because there are different levels of preference applied to different types of visas.

Who Can Use Family-Based Sponsorship?

Both US citizens and legal permanent residents can sponsor immigrants for a green card based on family relations. US citizens may use the family-based immigration process to sponsor the following family members:

  • A spouse—husband or wife

  • Unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age)

  • Unmarried adult children (over 21)

  • Married children, any age

  • Sibling—brother or sister, only if the sponsor is over 21 years of age

  • Parent, only if sponsor is over 21

Legal US residents (green card holders) may only sponsor the following family members:

  • Spouse

  • Unmarried children (any age)

If you hold a green card, you cannot sponsor family members other than spouse or children until you become a naturalized US citizen. Once you do, you have the right to sponsor all of the family members listed above.

"How I Prepared for My
Marriage Based Green Card Interview"

Click here to get 7 Free Pages from our new and updated Green Card Interview Guide.

"He who fails to prepare, prepares to fail!"

Categorical Preference

Overall, it is fair to say that family-based visas, such as those generated by marriage, are given a higher level of preference than student and worker visas. This is not strictly true of all categories for family-based visas, but it is for family members who can be considered immediate family members of the sponsor.

Even among family members, though, there are varying levels of preference designated by the USCIS. Those are:

  • First: unmarried adult children of citizens (over 21)

  • Second: Spouses of legal residents, their unmarried minor children, and unmarried adult children

  • Thirds: Married children of US citizens

  • Fourth: Siblings of adult US citizens

Some family members are not listed here because they are granted immediate priority, such as spouses and minor children.

Learn About Your Rights and Proper Filing

Different levels of preference mean different rights and processes for filing. On this site, the focus is primarily on marriage immigration, but the resources here will also help you to learn more about family-based immigration related to getting a green card through marriage. Use these resources to ensure proper filing so that your bid to bring your family together as lawful US residents goes smoothly and successfully.

Return to "Immigration and Marriage" from "Marriage Immigration"





Home | Citizenship Exam | Citizenship Books | How to Prepare

©2008 Green Card by Marriage Interview - All Rights Reserved

Web Site Designed & Built by WeBuildWebSites4U