US Immigration Marriage as a
Basis for Family-Based Immigration

As per the laws governing US immigration marriage can be used as a basis for applying for Lawful Permanent Residence (commonly known as a green card) in the U.S. In fact, this is one of the more common (and expedient) ways to sponsor a relative for residency in the states.

Who Can Be Sponsored?

Immediate family members can be sponsored based on marriage and relationship. This requires first that a permanent resident or US citizen sponsor the family member. US citizens can petition on behalf of the following relatives:

  • Spouse

  • Unmarried minor child

  • Unmarried adult child

  • Married child

  • Siblings

  • Parents

A lawful resident who is not a citizen can only petition for a spouse or unmarried child.

Immediate relatives of US citizens are granted priority and do not have to wait for an available visa number — these are unlimited, and a number will be made available immediately for:

  • Spouses

  • Unmarried minor children

  • Parents

Other relatives will have to wait according to preference.

How to Be a Sponsor

If you are a resident or US citizen, you can petition as the sponsor to bring your spouse, and also your spouse's children, to the states. To be a sponsor you must file the petition on your spouse's behalf with the CIS.

You should understand, though, that being a sponsor is not a guarantee. You still have some proof and documentation that you are responsible for. Primarily, you will have to prove, through documentation, application and interviews:

  • The validity of your marriage
  • Your relation to the subject
  • Your ability to financially support the person (at a level at least 125% of the poverty line)
  • If your financial support alone does not meet guidelines, another financial sponsor will also have to submit an Affidavit of Support

So in addition to the petition, you as a sponsor will have to file an Affidavit of Support, submit to an interview, and provide requested documentation. Your spouse will have to apply for the visa and also provide documentation and submit to interviewing, but you also have work to do.

Just as your spouse has much preparation for the actual application process, so too should you prepare to be his or her sponsor for residence through US immigration marriage. When all parties come prepped and ready to do their part, the process is greatly simplified.

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

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