U.S. Permanent Residency (Green Card) Applications

Different programs are available for applying for U.S. Permanent Residence or a US Green Card. If you have a family member who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (green card holder), you may be eligible to apply for a US Green Card using a Family based Petition.

Spousal Sponsorship Petition

If you are married to a US Citizen or permanent resident, your spouse may be eligible to file an I-130 Petition to sponsor you. Your spouse must earn an income that is equivalent to at least 125% above the poverty line. If this condition is not satisfied, a co-sponsor or co-signer will need to complete an I-864 application form. Note that if your spouse is a U.S. permanent resident and not a U.S. citizen, the application process may take much longer, usually a number of years to complete.

There are two application procedures for U.S. citizen spouses. If the foreign spouse lives outside the U.S., the Consular Processing procedure is appropriate. Under this procedure, the foreign spouse usually remains outside the U.S. while the application is in process. When the processing of the I130 petition is complete, the application will be forwarded to that spouse’s local U.S. Consulate for second step of processing, namely, application for an immigrant visa. The foreign spouse will need to submit further documents and attend an interview before the immigrant visa is issued.

If the foreign spouse already lives in the U.S., the Adjustment of Status (AOS) process will be appropriate. The foreign spouse must file an AOS application (Form I-485) along with the other applications such as the I-130 and/or I-864. The application is usually filed with the local district office in the state you live in.

NOTE: Usually an AOS that if you file an AOS application you cannot leave the US until the application has been approved unless you also file an I-131 application for Application for Advance Parole with the other AOS documents.

General Family Sponsorship Petitions

In addition to the spousal sponsorship, a U.S. permanent resident may also sponsor their unmarried children for U.S. permanent residence. A U.S. citizen may also petition to sponsor their children, parents and siblings, subject to certain conditions. These applications usually take longer than Spousal Sponsorship Applications, and Adjustment of Status (AOS) procedure is normally not available in such cases.

Employment-Based Petitions

If you are in the U.S. on a valid work visa such as L1 or H1B, your U.S. employer may be able to petition you for US Permanent Residence by filing an I-140. The eligibility and process of these applications may be complicated and you should consult an immigration lawyer to assist you and your company with the application.

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