How to Get a Marriage or Family-Based Green Card

How to Get a Marriage or Family-Based Green Card

Do you have a sibling that can potentially sponsor you for a green card?  Are you married to a U.S. citizen or green card holder?  Do you have a parent or a child that could potentially sponsor your green card?  If your answer was yes to any of the above, or if you are not sure if you fit into one of these categories, this article will go over multiple options that may be available to you to get a family-based green card to the United States. 


We are Ashoori Law, led by Michael Ashoori, a U.S. immigration lawyer based in Los Angeles, California.  At our law firm we work with clients from all over the world, and we regularly post articles and videos to make sure that you are up to date with the latest immigration news.  If, after reading this article, you have more questions, then we invite you to contact us at Ashoori Law.  Feel free to call us at +1-818-741-1117 or you may schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.


The K1 Visa – The “Fiancé Visa”


Let us start off by talking about a very popular immigration option.  That is the “fiancé visa” also known as a K1 visa.  How does the K1 visa work?  If you are a foreign fiancé of a U.S. citizen, then that U.S. citizen can petition (i.e., file immigration paperwork) USCIS so that you can eventually come to the United States and get married in the United States.


In order to qualify for the fiancé visa, you must satisfy the following four main requirements:


  1. You are engaged to a U.S. citizen. 
  2. Both the foreign fiancé and the U.S. citizen must be free to marry, which means that if you were previously married to somebody else, those prior marriages are over and you have evidence to show this. 
  3. You and your fiancé must intend to get married within 90 days of you entering the United States.
  4. You and your fiancé must have met in person within the last two years (though there are exceptions to this requirement).


The Marriage-Based Green Card


The next important family based green card is that through marriage. If you are married to either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (a green card holder), then you could potentially qualify for a green card based on your marriage to the U.S. citizen or the green card holder.


In order to qualify for this, you must be in a “bona fide” marriage.  A “bona fide” marriage means that at the time you and your spouse got married, you must have intended to build a life with your spouse.  You cannot just be getting married for immigration benefits. 


The marriage-based green card can be an option even if you are outside of the United States depending on the circumstances.


Green Card Through Children and Parents


You may be eligible for a green card based on a family relationship to either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.  Specifically:


  • If you are the parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old or older, then you could potentially qualify for a green card through your child.
  • If you are the son or daughter of a U.S. citizen, then you can also potentially qualify for a green card by having your U.S. citizen parent petition for your green card.   
  • If you are the son or daughter of a lawful permanent resident, then you could also potentially qualify for a green card by having your parents file an immigrant petition on your behalf.  Note, however, that you must be unmarried to qualify for a green card in these circumstances.
  • If you have a U.S. citizen brother or sister, then they can potentially sponsor you for your green card by filing an immigrant petition on your behalf.  Note:  in order for your sibling to file a petition on your behalf, they must be at least 21 years of age or older.


Green Card Under the Violence Against Women Act


A Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) green card is for someone who suffered abuse at the hands of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.  Specifically, under VAWA, a person could be eligible for a green card if he or she was a victim of battery or extreme cruelty committed by:


  • A U.S. citizen, or lawful permanent resident, spouse or former spouse;
  • A U.S. citizen, or lawful permanent resident, parent;
  • A U.S. citizen son or daughter


A person who files a VAWA self-petition is generally known as a VAWA self-petitioner.  A VAWA self-petitioner is afforded certain special confidentiality protections, and the law prohibits USCIS from denying an application based on information provided solely by the petitioner’s abuser.

How to Get a Marriage or Family-Based Green Card
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As you can see, obtaining a green card does not always need to be through employment.  You can obtain your green card based on your family relationships.  The four ways discussed above are the ways you can get there with the help of family.  Also, be sure to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to discuss your options and ensure your eligibility. 


My name is Michael Ashoori and I'm a U.S. immigration lawyer and the founder of Ashoori Law. As an immigration lawyer, I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.  If you have any questions, feel free to schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.

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Michael Ashoori, Esq.

President of Ashoori Law

I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.

Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.

Got a question? Send me an email.