Family Immigration

Persons who have a familial relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) may seek permanent resident status through a petition filed by a family member. 


Spouses, parents, and children under the age of 21  of U.S. citizens qualify as "immediate relatives" and are not subject to numerical limitations, therefore the timeline within which they can obtain a Green Card is relatively short.


Other relationships are subject to an annual quota system:

  • First Preference: unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21 of U.S. citizens;
  • Second Preference: spouses and children of LPRs (2A) and unmarried sons and daughters of LPRs (2B);
  • Third Preference: married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; 
  • Fourth Preference: brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.


See Visa Bulletin for current Priority Dates (located under Useful Links tab)


Our services in this area

  • Green Card petition based on a marriage to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Waiver of conditions on residence after 2 years of marriage
  • Obtaining permanent green card after a divorce from a US citizen
  • Green Card petitions for parents and children
  • Consulting on age-out of children issues
  • and many others...


Marriage to a United States Citizen

If you have been married to a US Citizen less than 2 years when your Form I-485 is approved, you will receive a conditional permanent residence status or “green card” from USCIS.  Ninety (90) days before the second anniversary of your conditional permanent residence, you and your spouse must apply together (Form I-751) to remove the conditions on your lawful permanent residence. To do so, you must prove the marriage is in “good faith” and valid. Once the conditions are removed, you have lawful permanent residency that is not dependent on your U.S. spouse.


If you have been married more than 2 years when your Form I-485 is approved, you will receive lawful permanent residence status from USCIS. On that date you will no longer be dependent on your U.S. citizen spouse for immigration status.


There are three situations when the law allows conditional permanent residents to request a waiver of the requirement that you and your spouse file jointly to request removal of the conditions:

  1. Your spouse died or the marriage was terminated due to divorce or annulment; OR
  2. The termination of your status and your removal from the U.S. would result in extreme hardship; OR
  3. During the marriage you were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse.


All three waivers are also filed on Form I-751 and require you to prove your marriage was in “good faith” and not fraudulent.


Immigration Options for Victims of Domestic Violence

Depending on the circumstances, there are several ways that immigrants who become victims of domestic violence may apply for legal immigration status for themselves and their children.  A victim’s application is confidential and no one, including an abuser, crime perpetrator, or family member, will be told that you applied. 


1. Self-Petitions under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): spouses and children of abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent residents who have subjected them to battery or extreme cruelty; parents of abusive U.S. citizen children (if children are over 21).  Self-Petitions under VAWA allow the victims to apply for legal permanent residency without the help or knowledge of the abuser.


2. Battered Spouse Waivers under VAWA: conditional permanent resident who has been subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse.  Allows the victim to remove the conditions on permanent residence without the help or knowledge of the abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse.


3. Cancellation of Removal under VAWA (requested in immigration court): spouses and children of abusive U.S. citizens who have subjected them to battery or extreme cruelty and who are in removal proceedings before an immigration judge; parent of a child or step-child who is abused by a U.S. citizen.  Among other requirements, victim must have been in the United States for longer than 3 years, and show that removal will cause the victim extreme hardship.  Allows the victim to request that the immigration judge cancel the removal proceedings and grant the victim lawful permanent residency.


4. U-nonimmigrant status (crime victims): victims of certain serious crimes, including domestic violence, who have

suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of criminal activity in the United States.  Requires victims to cooperate in the criminal investigation or prosecution.  Allows victims to receive a “U visa,” and, after 3 years, if they can prove humanitarian need, public interest, or family unity reasons, to apply for lawful permanent residency.

Do you have questions or do you want to make an appointment in this area?

Call us at +1 248 850 2129 or use our contact form.

24725 West 12 Mile Road

Suite 110

Southfield, MI 48034

Phone: +1 248-663-5150

E-mail: SL@VisasTo.US


Or use our contact form.

For changes of address, Form AR-11 must be sent to the following address OR submitted online at www.uscis.gov:  DHS/USCIS, Harrisonburg File Storage Facility, Attn:  AR-11, 1344 Pleasants Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22801.


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The information on this Michigan Immigration Law Firm website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Law office with practice exclusively in Immigration and Nationality Law.  Serving clients in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Livingston counties, throughout the State of Michigan and other states.  Office located in Berkley, Oakland County; however, clients travel to meet with Svetlana Lebedinski from the cities throughout the Metro Detroit area, western Michigan and the adjacent states of Ohio and Illinois.  Full services Immigration Law Firm serving Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield, Novi, Troy, Detroit, Hamtramck, Downriver, Commerce Twp, Walled Lake, Pontiac, Livonia, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Howell, Wixom, Utica and beyond.

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