How Can I Get My Green Card Through a Family Member?

Becoming a citizen of the United States can seem like an overwhelming task to many people. Permanent residency, or legal residency, is often known as having your “green card”. One of the easiest ways to become a U.S. citizen is through a family member. Although it may seem simple enough, there can be many hidden roadblocks to becoming a naturalized citizen through your family member. Keep reading to learn more about what requirements you need to meet and the process of obtaining your “green card” through a family member.

Who Needs to Petition for You?

Generally speaking, a permanent resident or citizen can petition for certain family members to also become residents and eventually citizens. A citizen can petition for the following members of their family to join them:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Sibling

Next Steps

The first thing your family member needs to do is file a petition to the government to recognize the legal relationship that will make you eligible for immigration status. For example, to recognize you as the spouse of a U.S. citizen. In some cases, you may be eligible to immediately apply for permanent residency once you prove your relationship to the U.S. citizen. In other cases, there may be additional tasks necessary. For example, if you are a foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen but entered the U.S. without a valid visa, additional steps would be necessary to process your immigration status before you can obtain residency. Or if a foreign spouse had prior immigration violations or a criminal record, certain waivers may be required before he or she could apply for a “green card”.


Even if you are positive you are eligible for immigration into the U.S. through a family member, it would be best to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer to assess your options before you go through the complicated process of filing applications with the government. The Center for Criminal and Immigration Law is a boutique law firm in Virginia that specializes in  immigration and criminal law. Contact them today for a free consultation!

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