Family Based Immigration

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Family based immigration is one path to lawful residency available to certain family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. The process varies by case, but generally there are two distinct requirements.

First, the U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident sponsor must file “Form 1-130, Petition for Alien Relative”.

25% of applications fail at this stage…

Second, the family member must apply for a Permanent Resident Card “Green card” through either consular processing or adjustment of status.

Another 25% fail at this stage……

How I Can Help — Navigating the Process

Family Member Eligibility– The sponsor and family member must have a qualifying relationship. A family member could be eligible if they are in either of the following categories:

1. Immediate Relative– Spouses, unmarried children (under 21 years of age), adopted children or soon to be adopted orphans, parents (over 21 years of age).

2. Family Preference- Eligibility for this category varies by the sponsor’s legal status.

U.S. Citizens- Siblings, married children, unmarried children

Lawful Permanent Residents- Spouses, unmarried children

Immediate Relatives- Family members in this category benefit from having an unlimited number of visas available. Also, many of the common bars to admission are waived, including unlawful presence and working without authorization.

Family Preference- Family members in this category are subject to a limited number of visas available each year. The wait times and open applications are accessible on the visa bulletin and approval is based on a first come first serve basis. An applicant’s priority is determined by the I-130 filing date.

What’s next….

Green Card FilingEstablishing family relationship and having Form 1-130 approved is one of the requirements. The second requirement is for the family member to apply for a green card through the Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status.

  • Consular Processing– Applicants outside the U.S. or residing in the U.S. with an unlawful presence must use the consular processing procedure. This is administered through the Department of State and requires leaving the U.S. for a consultant appointment. If the applicant is denied, they are denied reentry.
    • Previously, applicants with an unlawful presence or immigration related violation had to be denied before applying for a waiver. Now, the process can be expedited by filing a provisional waiver (Form I-601A). **
  • Adjustment of Status- Applicants lawfully residing in the U.S. may file for an adjustment of status. The applicant does not have to leave the U.S. and may be eligible to leave the U.S. while the application is pending.
    • **Adjustment of Status is administered by USCIS and applications may be denied on a discretionary basis. Due to this, Adjustment of Status applications are more likely to be denied.**
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