Immigration Through Family

U.S. immigration laws allow you to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (“Green Card” holder) through your family members, if you fall under the following categories:

  • an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older)
  • a family member of a U.S. citizen fitting into a preference category (unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21, married children of any age, and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older)
  • a family member of a green card holder (spouses and unmarried children of the sponsoring green card holder)
  • a member of a special category (battered spouse or child (VAWA), a K nonimmigrant, a person born to a foreign diplomat in the United States, or a widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen)

Starting in June 2013, same-sex marriages were equalized to other marriages for immigration purposes. Now, same-sex couple enjoy the same immigration benefits as opposite-sex couple.

There are special rules for prospective spouses of U.S. citizens who can apply for a fiancé(e) visa and prospective adopted children; the processing time varies depending on your category and circumstances.

The quickest and most common way to get a Green Card is through a marriage to a U.S. citizen. However, for some couples, this can be very complicated due to the following common mistakes:

  1. Incomplete paperwork

Although immigration forms are available online, it may be difficult for some couples to put together a complete package of the required forms. Keep in mind that each spouse has to file various separate forms in conjunction with the proceedings. It may be very confusing to choose the right forms from the extensive list of immigration forms available on the USCIS web-site.

  1. Lack of supporting documents

You must submit supporting documents required by law when you file your petition. It may be beneficial to submit additional supporting documents not listed on the USCIS web-site prior to your interview, because you may be requested by the officer during or after the interview to submit additional supporting documents. Failure to provide supporting evidence may result in significant delays or even in a denial of your petition.


  1. Poor preparation for the interview

Many wonderful and loving couples fail interviews due to their inability to properly answer the questions asked by the Immigration Officer. Although the interview process can vary in each case, there are some questions you need to know the answers to in order to be properly prepared. The Officer does not know how much you love each other; therefore, he/she can only determine the validity of your marriage through asking you various questions. If you fail to answer those questions properly, your marriage may look suspicious to the Officer.

There are other issues which may cause problems during the immigration process, this is why it is highly recommended to hire an immigration attorney who will validate the completeness of your paperwork, accompany you to the interview and help you through the complicated and critical process.


In order to obtain a Green Card through family, you must make sure that all required documents are filled out properly in order to avoid a delay in becoming a U.S. resident. Contact The Law Offices of Michelle Neal to seek professional help in filling out any important documents.

To schedule a consultation with an attorney, please complete our online contact form with a brief description of your situation, or give us a call at (312) 566-9574.

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