A permanent resident can also petition for a foreign spouse to be granted permanent residency through a green card. If you and your spouse marry in the United States, you can apply for an Adjustment of Status, to become a lawful permanent resident “Green Card” holder. You can also bring other family members, such as your offspring aged 21 or older, siblings, etc.
However, for this type of visa, there are quotas and waiting lists. You will be assigned a priority date, which is generally the date your petition was filed with USCIS. You can apply for the AOS once your priority date becomes current. If you do not have a current visa to stay in the United States until that time, you will not be able to stay in the U.S. legally until your priority date becomes current. It may take three to five years for priority dates to become current in the USCIS system.
For more information on priority preferences and dates, please read more on this topic in our Family Immigration Primer. Your family members may risk deportation or removal if they stay in the U.S. illegally.
Can I adjust the status of a family member if we already filed an immigrant petition with USCIS?
Your family member’s status in the U.S. may be adjusted if another LPR family member filed an immigrant petition on their behalf either before January 14, 1998, or between January 14, 1998 and April 21, 2001. For this type of adjustment, you still have to prove that the family member was physically present in the U.S. on December 21, 2000. If the petition was approved or denied because of a mistake by USCIS, you may be allowed to adjust your family member’s status in the U.S. If someone has stayed in the U.S. illegally for six months or more, you may request a waiver of the illegal stay. You will have to prove that a denial of the visa would cause an extreme hardship for the family members who are U.S. citizens.
Read more on extreme hardship in immigration cases.
How do I obtain a green card for my child(ren)?
If you are in the process of applying for a green card for your spouse, you can include your children on the same visa petition as your spouse so they can immigrate at the same time as long as your children are considered “derivative beneficiaries.” A child is a derivative beneficiary if two requirements are met under U.S. immigration law.
- the child is unmarried, under age 21, and either a biological, adopted, or step-child;
- the parent (the “lead beneficiary”) must be eligible for a type of immigrant visa that allows for “derivative beneficiaries,” meaning relatives who have the right to “accompany or follow to join” the lead beneficiary. The law allows derivative beneficiaries to receive LPR status because of their relationship with the lead beneficiary rather than their relationship with the petitioner.
Your child might be eligible for the Child Status Protection Act, or CSPA. In certain circumstances, this act may help your child obtain his or her green card more expeditiously. For more information on the CSPA, please read more in our informational section here. [LINK TO CSPA MTP]
If you have any questions or concerns about your ability to bring your spouse or children to the United States, contact our U.S. immigration attorney in Los Angeles for a FREE consultation now.