Noncitizens may be eligible to obtain a green card if a family member sponsors them through the filing of an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with USCIS. Eligible family members include a U.S. Citizen sponsoring their spouse, parents, children, adult sons and daughters, or siblings. Lawful Permanent Residents (e.g. “green card” holders) may also sponsor their spouses, children and unmarried adult sons and daughters for a green card.


Some of the most common family-based processes include:

  • K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa: A U.S. citizen may sponsor his/her noncitizen fiancé(e) for this visa in order to enter the U.S. and get married within 90 days of entry. If the fiancé(e) marries the U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of being admitted to the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant, he or she may apply for a green card in the United States.


  • Adjustment of Status: Certain noncitizens in the United States are eligible to adjust status (e.g. file for a green card) directly in the United States by filing Form I-485 with USCIS. As part of this process, applicants are eligible to obtain an employment authorization document and advance parole travel permission during the pendency of the green card application.


  • Consular Processing: Noncitizens who are abroad or who are otherwise ineligible to adjust status within the United States will be required to process an immigrant visa application at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. Once the U.S. Embassy or Consulate issues the immigrant visa, the noncitizen will become a lawful permanent resident of the United States (green card holder) upon their admission into the U.S.


  • Removal of Conditions: Noncitizens who obtained their green card based on marriage and were married for less than two years at the time their green card was issued, will have received a two-year Conditional Resident card requiring him/her to file a petition to remove the conditions on his/her residence prior to the expiration of the Conditional Resident status. This entails filing an I-751 petition with USCIS and is generally filed jointly with the spouse who sponsored the green card. However, under certain circumstances a waiver of the joint filing requirement may be requrested, such as based on termination of the marriage through death / divorce / annulment, extreme cruelty, or extreme hardship.


Preparing and filing marriage-based green cards brings Attorney Mendoza particular enjoyment due to her personal experience with it. In 2014 she sponsored her noncitizen husband for a marriage-based green card. She subsequently removed the conditions from his green card and ultimately obtained his U.S. citizenship in 2019. Being on the client-side of the system allowed her to gain a unique perspective into and appreciation for what her clients go through when pursuing their U.S. immigration goals.

Contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss the options that may be available to you or your family member(s).