Family-Based Immigration

Family-Based immigration opportunities are based upon a qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

The most common way to immigrate to the United States is through a family member, usually a spouse. You may be eligible to get a Green Card as:


Depending on the preference category, it is good to view this Department of State’s Visa Bulletin.


Immigration law allows U.S. citizens to petition for certain qualified relatives to come and live permanently in the United States. Eligible immediate relatives include the U.S. citizen’s:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried child under the age of 21
  • Parent (if the U.S. citizen is over the age of 21)

Immediate relatives have special immigration priority and do not have to wait in line for a visa number because there are an unlimited number of visas for their particular categories.


Certain immediate relatives of US citizens are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) while inside the United States. These relatives are allowed to file an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status in order to become a permanent resident while their U.S. citizen petitioner files the Petition for Alien Relative. To determine whether you could qualify to apply for this benefit, please contact us to schedule a consultation appointment.



You may petition for your foreign national fiancé(e), provided that:

  • You (the petitioner) are a U.S. citizen.
  • You intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States.
  • You and your fiancé(e) are both free to marry and any previous marriages must have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment.
  • You met each other, in person, at least once within 2 years of filing your petition. There are two exceptions that require a waiver:

*If the requirement to meet would violate strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice.
*If you prove that the requirement to meet would result in extreme hardship to you.



Adopting a child from another country is often a difficult, complex and lengthy process. Depending on whether you want to adopt a child from a country belonging to The Hague Convention or not, The Law Office of Ruby L. Powers will explain the process to you in detail and help you make the correct decision. Please contact us today for a consultation appointment.



If your relationship does not qualify you as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, then you may be in what is called a “family preference category.”  Eligible relatives of US citizens include:

  • Unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21
  • Married child(ren) of any age
  • Brothers and sisters (if the U.S. citizen petitioner is over the age of 21)

Conversely, a permanent resident may petition for his/her spouse and unmarried child(ren) of any age to immigrate to the United States. Permanent Residents CANNOT petition for married children, siblings or parents.



Your permanent residence status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than 2 years old on the day you were given permanent residence. You are given conditional resident status on the day you are lawfully admitted to the United States on an immigrant visa or adjustment of your status to permanent residence.

Your status is described as “conditional” because you must prove that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States.

Eligibility Criteria

Generally, you may apply to remove your conditions on permanent residence if:

  • You are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 2 years (your children may be included in your application if they received their conditional resident status at the same time that you did or within 90 days)
  • You are a child and cannot be included in the application of your parents for a valid reason
  • You are a widow or widower of a marriage that was entered into in good faith
  • You entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage was ended through divorce or annulment
  • You entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse
  • The termination of your conditional resident status would cause extreme hardship to you


The Law Office of Ruby L. Powers has personal experience through family-based immigration and this helps provide a greater level of service for our clients.  The firm has dedicated a lot of its focus to family-based immigration and has had a very high success rate for related petitions. Furthermore, the firm has experience with consular processing in many countries as well as substantial knowledge of and success with inadmissibility waivers which are often associated with family-based petitions.