Green card through family members is a common way for many foreign nationals to obtain permanent residency. Typically, family-based green cards are granted to immediate relatives of US citizens or permanent residents. However, those who do not qualify for such family-based green card categories may be eligible for a green card through special family categories.

Foreign nationals who are in a special family situation may qualify for a green card through one of the special family categories, which include:

  • Battered Spouse or Child
  • K Nonimmigrant
  • Person Born to a Foreign Diplomat in the United States
  • V Nonimmigrant
  • Widow(er) of a US Citizen

Green Card for Battered Spouse or Child

As per the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), battered (abused) spouses, children, and parents of a U.S. citizen; and certain battered (abused) spouses and children of permanent residents (green card holders) can file immigrant visa petitions for themselves without the knowledge of the abuser. The abuser will not be notified about the filing of such petition.

Eligibility

Persons who qualify for a green card under this category include:

  • The abused spouse and/or children of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • The abused parent(s) of their U.S. citizen son or daughter

Filing Process

Abused spouses, children, and parents applying under this category may self-petition. Spouses may include their unmarried children under age 21 on their petition. Unmarried children under age 21 may also include their children on their petition. To petition for a green card for battered spouse or child:

  • File Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant
  • Include all supporting documentation with petition
  • File form with the Vermont Service Center (VSC)

For complete details about eligibility and filing process for this category, visit the Green Card for Battered Spouse, Child, or Parents of a US Citizen on the USCIS website.

Green Card for K Nonimmigrant 

The K nonimmigrant visa category is intended to help fiancé(e)s of US citizens and their minor children travel to America as nonimmigrants while they are continuing their immigrant visa processing, helping to eliminate the long separation from their intended spouse in the US.

Eligibility

Spouses who qualify under this green card category may be eligible if:

  • Their US citizen spouse filed their immigrant visa petition on their behalf
  • They were admitted to the US as a K nonimmigrant (K1, K2, K3, or K4)
  • If K1 visa holder, they met the requirement of marrying the US citizen fiancé(e) within 90 days of entering the US
  • They are eligible to adjust their status
  • An immigrant visa is immediately available for them
  • They are admissible to the US

Filing Process

Eligible K nonimmigrants may apply for a green card by completing the following.

  • File for adjustment of status, Form I-485.
  • Gather supporting evidence for Form I-485.

For complete details about eligibility and filing for this category, visit Green Card for a K Nonimmigrant on the USCIS website.

Person Born to a Foreign Diplomat in the United States

A person born in the US to a foreign diplomat cannot be considered a US citizen at birth, as he/she is not subject to the jurisdiction of the US law. However, the child is considered a permanent resident at birth and able to obtain a green card through creation of record.

Eligibility

The child’s parent is considered a foreign diplomatic officer if the parent’s title is listed in the State Department Diplomatic List (Blue List), including:

  • Ambassadors
  • Ministers
  • Charges d’affaires
  • Counselors
  • Secretaries and attaches of embassies and legations
  • Members of the Delegation of the Commission of the European Communities
  • Persons with comparable diplomatic status and immunities assigned to the United Nations or the Organization of American States

The child must:

  • Have been born in the US to a foreign diplomat
  • Have had continuous US permanent residency since birth
  • Have not abandoned US residency

Filing Process

Persons born to foreign diplomats in the US who are eligible for a green card under this category must file Form I-485 along with the required supporting evidence.

For complete details about eligibility and filing for this green card category, visit Green Card for Persons Born in the US to a Foreign Diplomat on the USCIS website.

Green Card for V Nonimmigrant

Under the V-nonimmigrant visa category, the spouse or child of a permanent resident can live and work in the US while waiting to obtain immigrant status. Persons who qualify for a V visa were those who had their Form I-130 filed on or before December 21, 2000 by their permanent resident relative.

Eligibility

V nonimmigrants are eligible to apply for a green card if:

  • They had an immigrant visa petition filed on their behalf by a US permanent resident on or before December 21, 2000
  • They have continuously maintained V status while in the US
  • They are eligible to adjust their status as the spouse/child of a permanent resident or US citizen
  • An immigrant visa is immediately available for them
  • They are admissible to the US

Filing Process

To apply for a green card as a V nonimmigrant, you must:

  • File Form I-485
  • Gather all required supporting evidence for Form I-485

For complete details on obtaining a green card through this category, visit Green Card for V Nonimmigrant on the USCIS website.

Green Card for Widow(er) of a US Citizen

Widows or widowers who have been legally married to US citizens at the time of their citizen spouse’s death and have been married to the deceased citizen for at least two years prior to the citizen’s death may be eligible for US permanent residency.

Eligibility

Persons are eligible for a green card under this category if:

  • They were married to their US citizen spouse at the time of his/her death
  • They have a pending or approved Form I-130 or filed a Form I-360 within 2 years of US citizen spouse’s death
  • They are not remarried
  • They are admissible to the US

Filing Process

Eligible applicants may file Form I-360 along with all required supporting documentation.

For complete details on eligibility and application process, visit Green Card for Widow(er) of a US Citizen on the USCIS website.