Spouses, Children & Parents of U.S. Citizens
To be an “immediate relative” is optimum because unlike other qualifying relatives and employment-based visas, there is no cap or limit on how many may enter the U.S. This means there is no “waiting in line” for a visa.
Spouse of a U.S. Citizen: One of the most common questions I receive is: How do I get my husband or wife (spouse) a green card? The answer is not always simple because a host of issues may arise in a marriage-based application of this sort, including the timing, location, and of course, the immigration, criminal, and marital history of the couple.
Permanent residence based on marriage to a U.S. citizen is a two-step, sometimes three-step procedure whether you are in court proceedings or not. The first step is for the U.S. citizen spouse to file an I-130 Petition in order to qualify the relative. The second major step is for the foreign national to actually apply for his or her visa. If standing abroad, that process is referred to as Consular Processing or Visa Processing. If the person is physically in the U.S. and entered legally, the foreign national can file for the visa in the United States, called “Adjustment of Status” or alternatively can always opt to Visa Process in the home country.
Widow of a U.S. Citizen is within the definition of “spouse” and can qualify, but speaking with a Colorado family visa attorney Catherine Brown about your eligibility is most recommended.
Child of a U.S. Citizen: Children of at least one U.S. citizen are considered Immediate Relatives if they are unmarried and under 21 prior to filing. Children include a U.S. citizen’s natural children, stepchildren, adopted children, and orphaned children. (Adoptees and Orphans go through special procedures that are explained below). Like a spouse, a U.S. citizen must file an I-130 Petition for the child and the child must qualify for the visa—whether undergoing Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status.
As of June 27, 2013, someone who has a same-sex marriage can qualify for the same immigration green card benefits as heterosexual couples and will be defined as a “spouse” for immigration purposes. This was due to the fact the US Supreme Court struck down a federal law (DOMA) that prohibited recognition of a marriage between people of the same sex. It was found unconstitutional based on equal protection rights under the 5th Amendment.
If US citizens wish to bring a spouse or child to Colorado or the United States, contact Denver and Boulder immigration lawyer, Catherine Brown to schedule a consultation. Contact us online or at 303-322-2117.