Marriage to a Green Card Holder

With marriage to a green card holder, there are some limitations to family-based immigration and getting family-based green cards. However, it is still possible to sponsor the members of your immediate family. Learn what you can and cannot do as a green card holder to bring your family together in the US.

You Can Be a Sponsor, Too

The USCIS wants families to be together. However, naturally, there need to be limits on immigration in the US. One of the limits they needed to place was on who could be a sponsor for family-based immigration.

If you are a lawful permanent resident - in other words, if you have a green card - you can sponsor members of your immediate family and they, too can apply for permanent resident status in the US. With a green card, all of your immediate family members can live together legally and indefinitely in the US. And in time (after five years has passed), you and your family members can apply to become US citizens if you so choose.

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Who Can You Sponsor?

US citizens can sponsor more family members than green card holders can. Whereas a US citizen can also sponsor non-immediate family members like siblings, adult children, and parents, you, as a green card holder, can only sponsor immediate family members. As a lawful permanent resident, you can sponsor

    • Your spouse — your husband or your wife
    • Your children, if they are not married, regardless of age

Do know that you will be required to prove the relationship as part of the documentation for your petition and application.

What If You become a US Citizen?

If you do decide to become a US citizen, or if your citizenship is completed at any time, you can then apply to sponsor non-immediate family members as well. With citizenship, you will have the same rights as a citizen born in the US.

If you do not want to wait until you achieve citizenship, or if you do not want to become a US citizen through marriage to a green card holder, you can also look into other visas for non-immediate family members, such as work, student, and employment-based visas. There will be a different process for your relative(s) to follow, but the end result — being together in the US — could come out to be the same.

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