US Immigration Lawyer

Gloria J. D'Souza, Esq.

Family-Based Immigration (Immigration Petitions to Immediate Relatives/Marriage-based Green Cards)

Family-based immigration, involving marriage-based immigration of spouses and family immigration petitions to immediate relatives, is a process by which individuals can immigrate to another country based on their family relationships with citizens or permanent residents of that country. In the context of the United States, family-based immigration allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to sponsor certain family members for immigration to the U.S.

There are two main categories of family-based immigration in the United States:

Immediate Relatives: These include spouses of U.S. citizens, unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens, and parents of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older.

Immediate relatives are given the highest priority in the immigration process and are not subject to numerical limitations.

Family Preference Categories

Marriage green card attorney
These include other, more distant, family relationships with U.S. citizens or permanent residents. These categories include:
Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of U.S. citizens;
Spouses and children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of lawful permanent residents;
Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of lawful permanent residents;
Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; and
brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age and older)
The process of sponsoring a spouse or family member for immigration typically involves the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the spouse/relative. Once the petition is approved, the family member may apply for an immigrant visa if they are outside the U.S. or for adjustment of status if they are already in the U.S.

Adjustment of Status:

Adjustment of status is the process that the applicant can use to apply for lawful permanent resident status (also known as applying for a Green Card) while present in the United States. This allows the applicant to get a Green Card without returning to their home country to complete visa processing.

Consular Processing:

If the applicant is outside of the United States, the pathway to obtaining the visa abroad is through consular processing. The applicant in this instance, applies at a U.S. Department of State consulate abroad for an immigrant visa in order to come to the United States and be admitted as a permanent resident.

Bars to Adjustment and Waivers:

To qualify for a Green Card, the applicant must be admissible to the United States. Depending on how the applicant entered the United States or if he/she has committed a particular act or violation of immigration law, the applicant will be ineligible to apply for adjustment of status.

United States law allows the applicants to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief such as Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, and Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States after Deportation or Removal. Once a waiver or other form of relief is granted, an application for a Green Card may be approved.

Whether a waiver or other form of relief is available depends on the specific inadmissibility ground(s) that applies to you and the category you are adjusting under. Eligibility requirements for waivers and other forms of relief vary.

Practice areas

We offer consultations, representation, assistance and advice in the following areas:

Steps to start your
plans off right


Select your section


Send an enquiry


Schedule a Consultation

So, what are you waiting for?

Let's start your process right away! Fill in the form and we'll get back to you.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Looking For A
Green Card Immigration Lawyer?