Family Based Immigration

If you are looking to immigrate to the United States, one way you may be able to do so is through Family Based Immigration. In order to be eligible for Family Based Immigration, you must have at least one family member who is either a citizen or a lawful permanent resident in the United States. There are different visa options available, and not every family member will be able to file visa petitions. It is, however, a good route to take if you are eligible.

Status Adjustment

You may be able to adjust your status to become a permanent resident of the U.S. if you are the parent, spouse, or child of a U.S. citizen. There are certain requirements you must meet in order to be eligible for status adjustment. Those requirements include:

  • Properly filing required forms (I-485) and being physically present when filing;
  • Being inspected and admitted or inspected and paroled upon entering the U.S.;
  • Being eligible to receive an immigrant visa;
  • Having an existing relationship to the family member who filed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

For a full list of requirements, see USCIS’s Eligibility for Adjustment of Status

Immigrant Visas

There are a few different types of immigrant visas that fall under Family Based Immigration. Any of them can help to bring spouses, children, and parents to the United States and all of them are a good step towards becoming lawful permanent residents.

Immediate Relatives

If you are a citizen of the United States, you can sponsor certain family members by filing petitions for immigrant visas on their behalf. Immediate relatives include spouses, children under 21, and parents of U.S. citizens. There is no limitation to the number of immediate relative immigrants admitted to the U.S.

In order to immigrate through immediate relatives, the following criteria must be met:

  • The U.S. citizen must petition for the foreign family member and must promise to sponsor the foreign family member;
  • The foreign family member must apply for permanent residence (green card) and must be admissible to the U.S.; and
  • There must be documentation of the qualifying familial relationship.

Family Preference

If you do not have immediate family in the U.S. or if you are related to lawful permanent residents, you may be able to file for family preference visas. Family preference includes children and spouses of permanent residents and children of U.S. citizens that are over 21 years old. There is a limited number of family preference immigrants allowed into the United States every fiscal year and, because of this, there is typically a long wait. If you are going to file for family preference visas, it is important to file as soon as possible.

In order to immigrate through family preference, the following criteria must be met:

  • The U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident must petition for the foreign family member and must promise to sponsor them;
  • The foreign family member must apply for permanent residence (green card) and must be admissible to the U.S.; and
  • There must be documentation of the qualifying familial relationship.

Other items to note

There are some relatives that cannot be directly petitioned. Those include grandparents, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, cousins, and in-laws. If you have family that falls into these categories, they will need to pursue other routes of immigration to come to the U.S.

If you are a refugee or asylee in the United States and you were granted one of those statuses within the past two years, you may be able to petition for certain family members to obtain derivative status. Those family members include spouses and unmarried children who were under 21 when you first applied for your status.

Immigration Assistance

Navigating the immigration process can be complicated. An experienced immigration attorney can help you to review your case and ensure you have the proper documentation in place. An attorney can also help you to file documents and meet the deadlines and other requirements for applying. Contact the immigration attorneys at Cornerstone Law Firm for help.