How To Obtain Green Cards for Military Families
Many military members leave the United States for active duty and find love while serving. Depending on how long they remain at their stations overseas, military personnel can establish families before returning to the U.S. Bringing military family members into the country legally and establishing permanent residence is possible with a Green Card.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS office) has rules in place for how military spouses and close family members who are natives in other countries obtain Green Cards. The process can take years to complete, but Colavecchio and Colavecchio Law Office in Nashville, TN, can guide you and your family through the process.
What Is a Green Card?
A Green Card is a document permitting a foreign national to establish permanent residence in the U.S. Most people receive their Green Cards through sponsorship in which a U.S. citizen or organization takes on the legal obligation of financially supporting the applicant. After three to five years, the card will provide non-Americans with a path to citizenship or naturalization.
For service members, close relatives may obtain a Green Card through the standard application process, though an experienced attorney can expedite the process. Immediate family members include military spouses, children, and parents.
When seeking green cards for military families, the military member must:
● Sponsor their family member
● Meet income requirements
● File for a visa on their relative’s behalf
Non-citizen military families who entered the country legally can apply for adjustment of status. They will not have to leave the United States to continue with the Green Card application process.
What Are Immigration Laws for Military Personnel?
Parole in place (PIP) is a discretionary immigration law for military service members. The purpose of the law is to keep families together by offering Green Cards to military families and relatives. PIP benefits apply to relatives of:
● Active duty military personnel
● U.S. military veterans
● Current and former selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve Members
With PIP, non-American relatives of service members have the opportunity to receive a Green Card, even if they entered the country illegally. The requirements are lengthy and an experienced immigration attorney is often necessary to receive the benefit.
USCIS Application Requirements for Military Spouse Green Cards
If a military member marries a non-American, they can apply for a marriage Green Card. If approved, the spouse without citizenship can legally live and work in the U.S. and begin their path to citizenship.
Not every military member can get a Green Card for their spouse. First, they must meet specific requirements, including:
● Be a citizen or permanent resident
● Earn 100% above the poverty line for the household’s size
● Have a criminal record void of specific charges
● Be financially responsible for their spouse
Because some people have false marriages specifically to obtain a marriage Green Card, couples must prove their union is authentic. They can prove authenticity by adding documents to the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative form, such as:
● Proof of combined household finances
● Proof that both spouses reside in the same home
● Proof that both spouses are raising children together
Application Processes for Green Cards
There are several processes for obtaining Green Cards for military families, depending on residence.
Suppose the non-American family member resides in the United States. In that case, they can apply for PIP using the USCIS Form I-131 with accompanying evidence about their relation to the U.S. Service member.
Spouses living abroad must go through Consular Processing and apply for a Green Card through their country’s U.S. embassy or consulate. If the couple lives abroad, they can go through an international USCIS office or file with a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Once the military member and their relative submits their application and accompanying application, they will have an interview. An interviewing officer will ask questions about the family’s history and daily activities to prove the relational connection is genuine.
Apply for Green Cards With Colavecchio and Colavecchio
Getting Green Cards for military families is not an easy process. Non-Americans seeking immigrant benefits can still experience unforeseen delays and complications, such as the threat of deportation. If you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces at Fort Campell or elsewhere seeking a Green Card for your close relative, Colavecchio and Colavecchio Law Office of Nashville, TN, is ready to assist you.