Citizens of the United States can obtain green cards for married children. Their spouses and children, if unmarried and under the age of 21, may also immigrate with them. If their children turn 21 during the petitioning process, they can subtract the time that your visa petition was pending from their ages at the time that their priority date becomes current under the Child Status Protection Act.
However, obtaining green cards for married children can be a lengthy process due to US immigration laws which limit the number persons that are able to immigrate in this category each year. This number is currently set at 23,400 persons annually and considering over 800,000 people are already waiting in line, it will take about 10 to 11 years until they are able to immigrate. There are also country quotas in place which will increase the waiting time for those who were born in the Philippines and Mexico to over 20 years.
You can stay up-to-date with the waiting times in the Visa Bulletin and other immigration news by subscribing to our Free E-Mail Newsletter.
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To begin the petition process of getting green cards for married children, you will need to submit the following forms and documentation to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):
- Form I-130 Visa Petition
- Proof of your US citizenship
- Evidence of your parental relationship
Based on your situation, proof of your relationship to your children can be shown through:
- Son or daughter’s birth certificate and your marriage certificate
- Documents showing death or divorce of your previous spouses
If you are a step-parent or parent through adoption then refer to Form I-130 for further instructions. In order for your son or daughters spouse to immigrate with them you must submit their marriage certificate as well as documentation of the termination of any previous marriages.
It is important to note that if your name or the name of your son or daughter has changed since birth, you must submit further documentation showing the legality of the name change.
After all necessary forms and documents have been submitted to the USCIS and all filing fees paid, they will review your case. If approved, your married children, and their spouses and children, will receive green cards and become lawful permanent residents of the United States.
Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing
If your married son or daughter entered the United States lawfully and has maintained their legal immigration status, they may be able to adjust their status to permanent resident without having to leave the country. Their spouses and children may also be eligible to adjust their status in the U.S.
Each beneficiary may do so by filing an I-485, Application to Adjust Status packet which includes form an I-765 Application for Employment Authorization as well as an I-131 Application for a Travel Document.
However, if the married son or daughter has accrued 180+ days or over one year of unlawful presence in the United States, they may be subject to the 3 or 10-year unlawful presence bar. They may be eligible for a waiver of these bars if they can demonstrate that you and/or your U.S. citizen or green card holding spouse would suffer “extreme hardship” if the government failed to grant them a waiver of the bar.
They can file a form I-601A Application for a Provisional Waiver while they are in the U.S.
Married sons and daughters who are residing abroad must consular process, scheduling their immigrant visa appointments at a United States Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence. If they need a waiver, they must file a form I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.
Green Cards for Married Children – Additional Resources
- How to Make an Expedite Request (USCIS)
- Green Card for Family Member of US Citizen (USCIS)
- How do I help my relative get a US Green Card (USCIS)
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Immigration Attorney Carl Shusterman has 40+ years of experience. He served as an attorney for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) from 1976 until 1982, when he entered private practice. He has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in SuperLawyers Magazine. Today, he serves as Of Counsel to JR Immigration Law Firm.