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Obtaining Permanent Residence

in the U.S. for an

Overseas Family Member

NOTE:  This article is intended to be a brief summary of law only, parts of which may or MAY NOT be applicable to your situation.  While an effort is made to keep this info. up-to-date and accurate, this article was not written with your situation in mind and thus DOES NOT constitute legal advice.  Only an immigration attorney, one familiar with U.S. immigration law, should counsel you in this area.

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A strong majority of the immigrants that have entered the U.S. during the past quarter century have entered legally, and a large portion of that majority has entered via the sponsorship of family members - either legal residents of the U.S. or U.S. citizens in their own right - that were already here.  This is precisely why this law office places immigration under the category of Family Law.  In most instances, immigration is exactly that:  a family matter.

Because it’s a family matter, one of the immigration-related questions we most often hear goes something like this, “How can I get a green card for my overseas family member?”  The answer depends on a number of factors, the first and foremost being the residency status of the sponsoring family member.  What follows is a tabular outline of the forms and supporting documents that must be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service in order to properly sponsor a family member’s application for U.S. permanent resident status (i.e., a green card, attainment of which is the necessary, first step in becoming a U.S. citizen) in two common situations.  The far right column applies when a U.S. citizen seeks to bring his/her overseas parent(s) to the U.S.  The middle column applies when the sponsoring family member is, him/herself, a permanent resident (i.e., a green card holder) seeking to bring his/her overseas spouse to the U.S.  If you have any questions about this information, or about what role an immigration attorney can play in your situation, feel free to contact us today.

Jump Ahead

in this Document:

Green Card for Overseas Family Member

Forms Required

Permanent Residency - Spouse

Permanent Residency - Parent


Other Documents Required for Green Card

Residency Status

U.S. Citizenship Status

Family Status

Marriage Status

Financial Qualifications


Costs of Applying for a Green Card


Where to File Green Card Documents

See Also:

Maintaining Your Green Card While Overseas


Maintaining Continuous U.S. Residence
While Overseas

Green Card Requirements

Green Card Suggestions

Green Card Misconceptions


A Sample Plan for Maintaining U.S. Permanent Residency While Overseas


Role of the
Immigration Attorney

Business Law Home


Scenario #1: 
Sponsor is U.S. Green Card Holder Seeking Residency for Spouse

Scenario #2:
Sponsor is
U.S. Citizen Seeking

Residency for Parent(s)

Forms Required

(See our Immigration Links for a link to the downloadable versions of each of these forms, or ask your immigration attorney.)

·    I-130: 
Petition for Alien Relative

·    G-325a:
Biographic Information

·    I-864:
Affidavit of Support

·    I-864A:
If the green card holder uses work (e.g., domestic services, child care) done for a household member to meet income qualifications.

·   I-130: 
Petition for Alien Relative

·   I-864:
Affidavit of Support


Documents Required

Documents Evidencing Residency Status

·    Copy of front & back of U.S. permanent resident card.

Documents Evidencing Marriage

·    Copy of marriage certificate

·    Documents proving divorce if any previous marriage(s)

·    Color photos (see photo instructions file) of both husband and wife

Documents Evidencing U.S. Citizenship

·   Copy of U.S. passport.

Documents Evidencing Family Status

·   Copy of sponsor’s birth certificate showing names of both parents.

·   Copy of parents’ marriage certificate

·   Documents proving divorce if parents had previous marriage(s)

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© Roger Galer, 2004

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