Who can be a Sponsor for marriage Green Card?

Lawful Permanent Residency Application through marriage

In the context of U.S. immigration law, obtaining a Green Card through marriage to a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident is a pathway that allows the foreign spouse to establish permanent residency in the United States. This option reflects the American government's commitment to keeping families together and ensuring that foreign-born spouses have the opportunity to live, work, and build their lives alongside their U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident spouses. The application process involves thorough documentation, interviews, and a demonstration of the authenticity and legality of the marital relationship. Successfully obtaining a Green Card through marriage offers significant benefits, including the ability to work and travel freely within the United States, access to social services and healthcare, and the eventual potential to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Petitioner: a US citizen vs. Lawful Permanent Resident

A U.S. citizen and a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) have different roles and responsibilities when it comes to sponsoring a Green Card application for a family member or spouse. Here's how they differ in this context:
  • A. Eligibility for Sponsorship

    U.S. Citizen: A U.S. citizen can sponsor a wider range of family members, including spouses, children (married and unmarried), parents, and siblings. They have the most extensive sponsorship options.

    Lawful Permanent Resident: An LPR can typically sponsor only their spouse and unmarried children. They do not have the same range of sponsorship options as a U.S. citizen.

  • B. Processing Times

    U.S. Citizen: Green Card applications sponsored by U.S. citizens generally have shorter processing times and may be prioritized due to the immediate relative status of the beneficiary.

    Lawful Permanent Resident: Applications sponsored by LPRs might have longer processing times due to numerical limitations on the number of visas available for certain family categories.

  • C. Preference Categories

    U.S. Citizen: Immediate Relatives of U.S. citizens, such as spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21, are not subject to annual numerical limitations and have higher preference.

    Lawful Permanent Resident: LPRs typically fall under family preference categories, which have numerical limits and longer waiting periods for visa availability.

  • D. Waiting Periods

    U.S. Citizen: There is generally no waiting period for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to receive a visa number; they can typically proceed with the application immediately.

    Lawful Permanent Resident: LPRs may face waiting periods before their sponsored family members can proceed with their Green Card applications, depending on the specific family preference category and visa availability.

In summary, while both U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents can sponsor family members for Green Cards, U.S. citizens have broader sponsorship options, shorter processing times, and fewer numerical limitations. Lawful Permanent Residents have more limited options, longer waiting periods, and must adhere to family preference categories, which have numerical limits.