Family-Member Immigration – Immigration Law
Family-based petitioners may find difficulty in applying for their family members due to the complexity of US Immigration and Nationality Law. Family unification is our goal, so our team of Sacramento immigration attorneys employs its best efforts in order to achieve family unity. Due to the difficulty of the petitioning and application process for family-based immigration, our Sacramento immigration lawyers are often entrusted with these cases to ensure the highest level of success. Indeed, our immigration attorneys have successfully filed hundreds of immigration applications and have a tremendously high success rate.
What are the requirements for a family-based petition?
In order to qualify for family-based immigration, you must fulfill two requirements: (1) a family member (the “petitioner”) who can sponsor another family member seeking lawful permanent residence (the “beneficiary”), which is also referred to as a green card holder; and, (2) establish into which category the beneficiary fits.
What are the different categories for family member beneficiaries?
Your family member must fall into one of the following categories:
– Immediate Relatives: A spouse of a US citizen, unmarried child under the age of 21 of a US citizen, and parents of a US citizen son or daughter who is at least 21 years old.
– Preference Categories:
- First: Unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21 of a US citizen;
- (a) A spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of a US permanent resident;
- (b) Unmarried sons and daughters that are over the age of 21 (the beneficiary’s children do not qualify under this category);
- Third: Married sons and daughters of US citizens;
- Fourth: Brothers and sisters of a US citizen who is at least 21 years old.
What is the difference between an Immediate Relative and a relative who falls into the Preference Categories?
Immediate relatives are not subject to statutory caps and are only subject to processing times, so they’re generally able to obtain a green card faster than family members who fall into a preference category. Family members in the preference category are subject to statutory caps. Generally, the lower the category, the longer the processing time. The date of the petition filing will determine the family member’s priority date (the date when the visa becomes available). The availability of immigrant numbers is shown on Visa Bulletins as provided by the Department of State. Please see: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/immigrant-process/approved/checkdate.html
Is there a difference between the process of petitioning for a family-member who is currently in the United States and outside of the United States?
Yes, the process for petitioning on behalf of a family-member who is in the US is called Adjustment of Status. The process for petitioning on behalf of a family-member who is outside of the US is called Consular Processing.
My family member is here in the US, so can I now petition?
There are a number of questions to be answered. First, did the person enter into the US lawfully (with proper documentation and inspection by a US Customs and Border Patrol agent)? If not, the individual must qualify and apply for a waiver. Did the person enter the US with the intent to abandon his/her residence abroad? If the person entered with the intent to abandon his/her residence abroad, then there are immigration implications that arise when applying and this is a fact-specific inquiry. Under what category does the person fall? In other words, does this person fall under the Immediate Relative category or in a preference category? Does the person have a criminal record? If so, is it a crime involving moral turpitude? Is it an aggravated felony. There is a host of issues that might require the attention of our Sacramento immigration attorneys and a consultation could save you time and trouble – we suggest you speak to us.
There may be a number of reasons as to why your application could be denied. For example, an individual may be found inadmissible due to prior unlawful presence, a criminal record, etc. Although it is not necessary for one to hire an immigration lawyer to handle their case, it is highly recommended due to the various factors that might hurt your chances of succeeding. Our Sacramento immigration attorneys are well-equipped to assist you, or, at the very least, give you legal advice.
If you have any questions regarding your family-based petition and/or application, please do not hesitate to contact Carson & Kyung, A Law Corporation.
USCIS Family-Based Petition: http://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-through-family