Yao Law Group
Family Immigration Services
US citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs or Green Card Holders) can petition for their family members. Family members are classified into two categories: immediate relative and family preference.
Who is an immediate relative?
You are an immediate relative if you are:
- The spouse of a U.S. citizen;
- The unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. citizen; or
- The parent of a U.S. citizen (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age or older).
Marriage Based Green Card
The ability to live and work permanently in the United States, access to government benefits and services, and a road to U.S. citizenship are just a few of the advantages of obtaining permanent residency in the United States through marriage
1. Interview Documents
Approval for a Marriage based Green Card is usually through an interview with an Immigration Officer. Some documents to bring to the interview are:
work authorization document
- passport and visa
- birth certificates
- marriage certificate
- certified divorce decree
- certified criminal records
If your adjustment of status is based on marriage, bring updated joint documents such as:
- utility bills
- bank statements
- lease agreements
2. What Happens if the Interview Goes Wrong?
The Stokes Interview is a second opportunity for you and your spouse to demonstrate the authenticity of your marriage. After the initial status interview, if the immigration officer has any doubts, you will be scheduled for a Stokes interview.
The Stokes interview will occur four to six weeks following your original interview. The interview requires proof of your marriage’s legitimacy, such as photos and financial records. During this second interview, you and your spouse will be questioned separately for up to eight hours. If there is a discrepancy in your answers, you will be brought together to explain the inconsistency, resulting in a failed interview.
Family Based Green Card (other than marriage)
A foreign citizen seeking to live permanently in the United States requires an immigrant visa (IV). To be eligible to apply for an IV, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by an immediate relative who is at least 21 years of age and is either a U.S. citizen or U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (that is, a green-card holder).
There are two types of family-based immigrant visas:
Immediate Relative – these visas are based on a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen, such as a spouse, child or parent. The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year.
Family Preference – these visas are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). The number of immigrants in these categories is limited each fiscal year.
Keep in mind that U.S. citizens can file an immigrant visa petition for their:
- Son or daughter
- Brother or sister
U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents can only file an immigrant visa petition for their:
- Unmarried son or daughter