Family-Based Immigration

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.

Frequent Questions About Family-Based Immigration

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 90 days 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 90 days, 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.

Marriage

Spouse of a U.S. Citizen.
A spouse of a U.S. Citizen can qualify for an Immigrant visa (green card) as an “Immediate Relative” and can apply immediately. After submitting the application, the whole process usually takes about six to eight months, however, a spouse of a U.S. Citizen can typically qualify for a work permit in approximately four to six weeks.

A U.S. Citizen spouse might qualify for a K-3 Visa.
There is no quota for this type of visa.

Spouse of a Legal Permanent Resident.
A spouse of a Legal Permanent Resident can apply for an Immigrant visa (green card). There is a waiting period of several years, depending on the nationality of the applicant. This type of visa is subject to a quota.

 

Parents

Parents of a U.S. Citizen, if the Citizen Child is at least 21.
A parent of a U.S. citizen, who is at least 21, qualifies as an “Immediate Relative” and can apply for a green card immediately. After submitting the application, the whole process usually takes about one year. There is no quota for this type of visa.

Parents of a U.S. Citizen who is under 21.
Does not qualify for an Immigrant visa (green card).

Parents of a Legal Permanent Resident.
Does not qualify for an Immigrant visa (green card).

Children

Unmarried Child below 21 years of age who has at least one U.S. Citizen parent.
Unmarried child below 21 years of age who has a U.S. citizen parent qualifies for an Immigrant visa (green card) as an immediate relative and can apply immediately. After submitting the application, the whole process usually takes about one year. There is no quota for this type of visa.

Married Child over the age of 21 of at least one U.S. Citizen parent.
Married child over the age of 21 of at least one U.S. citizen parent qualifies for an Immigrant visa (green card) and there is a waiting period of several years. This type of visa is subject to a quota.

Unmarried Child under 21 years old of a Legal Permanent Resident.
Children under 21 years old of a Legal Permanent Resident qualifies for an Immigrant visa (green card) and there is a waiting period of several years. This type of visa is subject to a quota.

Unmarried Sons and Daughters over the age of 21 of a Legal Permanent Resident.
Unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21 of a Legal Permanent Resident qualify for an Immigrant visa (green card) and there is a waiting period of several years. This type of visa is subject to a quota.

Brother/Sisters

Brothers and Sisters of U.S. citizens, where the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years old.
Brothers and sisters of a U.S. citizen, where the U.S. citizen is at least 21 years old, qualify for an Immigrant visa (green card) and there is a waiting period of many years. This type of visa is subject to a quota.

Brothers and Sisters of a Legal Permanent Resident.
Does not qualify for an Immigrant visa (green card).

Adoption

Parents and children related through adoption.
If the adoption took place before the child reached the age of 16, parents and children related through an adoption may qualify for an Immigrant visa (green card).

Step-children and Step-parents.
If the marriage creating the relationship took place before the child’s 18th birthday, then the child may qualify for an Immigrant visa (green card).

Fiancé (K1/K3 Visas)

K-1.
A fiancé of a U.S. citizen is eligible for a K-1 visa, which allows a fiancé to enter the U.S. to marry the petitioner within 90 days. The application process for K-1 visa generally takes between 4-24 months depending on the nationality of the fiancé.

K-3.
A spouse of a U.S. citizen is eligible for a K-3 visa. A K-3 visa allows a spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. while awaiting the results of a pending green card application. The application process for K-3 visa takes between several months to one year.