The Family Based Immigration process is governed by a system of immigrant visas, each of which establishes specific terms and conditions for entering and remaining in the United States. An Immigrant visa granting Legal Permanent Residency is also commonly referred to as a “Green Card.”
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues Immigrant visas (green cards) based on a quota system. For Family Based Immigrant visas, a system of preference categories is used in addition to the quota system.
The application process for Family Based Immigration includes submitting a petition with the USCIS. The application waiting period will fluctuate, but usually takes several months to several years.
Our experienced attorneys will quickly determine if you are eligible to apply through a family member. We will then submit the most complete and thorough petition possible. In addition, our attorneys know the processes and procedures to work with various government agencies to ensure the best possible outcome in a timely manner.
Q. What if the beneficiary (spouse, family member, or relative) is currently in the United States and entered the United States illegally?
A. They may have to return to their home country to obtain an Immigrant visa (green card). However, if a petition was filed on their behalf on or before April 30, 2001, and they have been in the United States since December 21, 2000, they may be able to obtain their green card in the United States. Also, there is a $1,000 penalty, which must be paid when submitting the application.
Q. What if the person I want to petition for has criminal conviction?
A. Some types of criminal convictions can bar a beneficiary from obtaining an Immigrant visa (green card). Therefore, it is highly recommended that you contact us and talk to our experienced attorneys.
Q. Can the beneficiary travel outside the United States while the application is in process?
A. If the beneficiary has ever been in the United States illegally, and if he/she travels outside of the U.S., he/she may be barred from re-entering the United States for 3 or 10 years. Therefore, it is highly advisable that you contact our experienced attorneys before traveling outside the United States.
Q. When does the work permit come out?
A. On an average, it takes 4-8 weeks after filing for an Immigrant visa (green card).
Q. What is the definition of “immediate relative” and what are the benefits if you are an immediate relative?
A. ‘Immediate Relative” is defined as a spouse of a U.S. citizen, unmarried child below 21 years of age who has a U.S. citizen parent, or a parent of a U.S. citizen, who is at least 21. If you qualify as an immediate relative, you can apply for an Immigrant visa (green card) immediately. After submitting your green card application, you will receive a work permit in about 4-8 weeks, and an Immigrant visa (green card) after about a year.
Q. What is the condition on permanent residence based on marriage, and how do I remove it?
A. If you have been married to a U.S. citizen for less than 2 years, you will receive a two-year conditional green card. During the two-year conditional period, you have to be legally married to your U.S. citizen spouse. Three months prior to the conditional green card expiring, if you prove that your marriage was legal, you can remove the condition and obtain a permanent green card. If you are no longer married to your spouse, you will need to show that the marriage was entered into in good faith.