One of the most common ways to receive a lawful permanent residency (Green Card) is to be sponsored by an immediate relative who is a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident in the United States. To sponsor a relative, the U.S. Citizen petitioner or Legal Permanent Resident Petitioner must have a qualifying family relationship. At present, those relationships are the following:

If the petitioner is a United States Citizen:

  1. Husband or Wife;
  2. Unmarried child under 21 years old;
  3. Unmarried child over 21 years old;
  4. Married son or daughter of any age;
  5. Brother or sister (If the petitioner is at least 21 years of age)
  6. Mother or father (If the petitioner is at least 21 years of age)

If the petitioner is a Legal Permanent Resident:

  1. Husband or Wife;
  2. Unmarried child under the age of 21;
  3. Unmarried son or daughter over the age of 21.

In the case of one spouse petitioning for another, then an I-130 petition must be filed and proof of the marriage must be shown as well as proof of a “bona fide” marriage. No specific definition of “bona fide” can be stated but we at Mazzei & Polk, LLC can assist you in gathering the evidence and preparation of the proper petitions to show these relationships. The petitioner must also show that his or her income exceeds 125% of the poverty line and that he or she can support the entire family on said income. The U.S. Poverty Guidelines can be found here:

In addition, a U.S. Citizen Fiancé' can also petition for his or her fiancé' to enter based upon an immigrant visa (but not immediately adjust to Legal Permanent Residency). The relationship proofs are similar to that required of an I-130 petition however the petitioner must marry the immigrant beneficiary within 90 days of his or her entering the United States.

However, there are many circumstances that may be permitted not listed within this exceedingly limited outline. If you feel you have a family based immigration case please contact Mazzei & Polk, LLC at (516) 280-9035 and we will be happy to assist you.