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Family Based Immigration

There are few things more rewarding to an immigration attorney than helping to unite or create new families.  At the Federal Practice Group, our experienced staff will carefully answer your questions and help you through family immigration matters.

Types of USA family immigration

K-1 fiancé visas allow you to stay in the United States for 90 days to marry your fiancé and apply for permanent residency (a.k.a. a “Green Card”). K-2 visas are available for children of K1 visa holders.

A K-3 visa holder has concluded a valid marriage with a citizen of the United States; has a relative petition (Form I-130) filed by the U.S. citizen spouse for the person; seeks to enter the United States to await the approval of the petition and subsequent lawful permanent resident status, and, has an approved Form I-129F. A K-4 visa holder is a person under 21 years of age and is the unmarried child of an alien eligible to be a K-3.

How to file for a Family-Based Immigrant Visa

The sponsoring relative must first file a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130. The petition is filed with the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

A U.S. citizen can also file an immigrant visa petition at a U.S. embassy or consulate.  The USCIS overseas also accepts citizen petitions when the citizen petitioner has been a overseas for the preceding 6 months and has host country permission to reside there.

Unlimited family-based immigrants – immediate relatives

Immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens (IR): These types of immigrant visas are based on a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen, including spouses, children, and parents.

Additionally, a U.S. citizen can sponsor a child adopted or to be adopted from abroad, if that child meets the definition of an orphan as provided by immigration law. Family members of United States citizens (not Legal Permanent Residents) can file Immediate Relative Petitions.

Marriage to a U.S. Citizen

It is well-known that marrying a U.S. citizen can get you a green card, but it is often more complex and challenging than many people assume.  Once married, you will need to undergo a marriage interview with a representative of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The interviewer will determine if your marriage is “real” or if it is simply a marriage of convenience.  It is extremely beneficial to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side to assist with this process.

Requirements to sponsor a relative

There are specific criteria that must be met in order to sponsor a relative to immigrate to the US. They are as follows:

  • You must be able to demonstrate that you’re a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • There must be a qualifying relationship between you (sponsor) and the beneficiary
  • As the sponsor, you must file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and prove that you can support the individual(s) at 125% above the poverty line

By bringing a relative to the United States you accept responsibility for financially supporting them.

Limited Family Based Green Card Immigrants

These types of immigrant classifications involve specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident. Under immigration law, there are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants as explained below:

Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their children, if any. (23,400)

Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (over age 20) of lawful permanent residents. (114,200) At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder will be allocated to unmarried sons and daughters.

Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and children. (23,400)

Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of United States citizens, and their spouses and children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age. (65,000)

NOTE: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.

Obtaining a Green Card While Outside the U.S.

If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen and seeking a green card (while outside the country) you may become a permanent resident through consular processing.

This form of processing is when USCIS works in unison with the Department of State to issue a visa on an approved I-130. You can travel on that visa to the U.S. and become a permanent resident upon arrival.

 

Numerical Limitations for Limited Family-Based Immigrants

Whenever there are more qualified applicants for a category than there is availability, the category will be considered oversubscribed.  When oversubscription takes place, immigrant visas are issued in the order by which the petitions were filed.

The filing date of a petition becomes the applicant’s priority date. Immigrant visas cannot be issued until an applicant’s priority date is reached. Depending on the category that you apply to, this wait could take multiple years. Check the current Visa Bulletin for the latest priority dates.

Additional points to keep in mind

When applying for a visa, USCIS considers many aspects of each application, and it is important to be aware of the relevant factors.

Educational Background – What’s unique about obtaining this type of green card is that the applicant’s educational background/work experience is not taken into consideration which is a positive benefit for many.

Child Status Protection Act – This Act allows certain individuals to keep their classification of a ‘child’ even after reaching the age of 21. In general, your age is placed on hold as soon as your citizen parent files the I-130.

Unmarried Sons or Daughters – Unmarried sons/daughters of a citizen who get married before officially becoming permanent residents may not be eligible to qualify because their status will change to Married Son or Daughter of U.S. citizen. In some cases, it will result in a delay or denial altogether.

As a final point, it’s important to remember that the green card can be revoked if it is misused. This may qualify as committing a crime, establishing your primary residence outside the U.S. or not informing the proper authorities of a change of address.

Family Based Green Card Lawyer Fees and Government Fees

There are fees associated with the following services:

  • Filing Petition for Alien Relative, I-130 (USCIS fee)
  • Processing immigrant visa application, DS-260
  • Medical exam and any vaccines required
  • Extraneous fees (translation, obtaining documents, travel, etc.)

Why choose the federal practice group attorneys?

The Federal Practice Group provides our clients with compassion and professionalism. We dedicate time to each and every client in order to understand their specific needs.

Our immigration team has an in-depth knowledge of the specific procedures and documentation required to complete a successful petition.  We have years of experience behind our backs, and can provide invaluable counsel and support during the confusing and stressful process of obtaining a United States visa. 

To learn more about how we can help you get a green card for your relative, contact our experienced team for a comprehensive Immigration Consultation.

 

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Fighting for Justice

The Federal Practice Group provides skilled, results-driven representation. Through their thorough and aggressive representation of clients, our attorneys have earned a reputation throughout the legal community as relentless advocates who leave no stone unturned. This passionate, exacting approach yields results for our clients.

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