Family Based Immigration

We bring spouses, parents, brothers and sisters to the U.S. from all U.S. Consulates world-wide!

Family-sponsored immigration involves a qualifying relative (a USC or LPR) who files a petition to sponsor a qualifying family member for permanent residence (a/k/a “green card”). Generally, family-based residency is restricted to children, spouses and parents of a U.S. Citizen (“USC”), or legal permanent resident (“LPR”). If a parent sponsors, a son or daughter must be at least 21 years of age. If applying for a child, the child must be under 21 years of age at the time of filing. For immigration purposes, a “child” includes a stepchild, adopted children, children born out of wedlock and legitimated children. This special definition of “child” creates benefits for not only the “child” but also parents, siblings of the “child.”

There are special issues only an experienced immigration attorney understands regarding eligibility of immigrating family members. Especially complex issues include the concept of “legitimization,” involving countries that eliminate “born in or out-of wedlock” distinctions (such as El Salvador), foreign adoptions are concerned. It is never advisable to experiment with your family-member’s case without seeking legal advice. Because the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned DOMA, same-sex couples may now petition for their spouses. This raises many legal issues that an attorney should review before deciding to file any state-side or consular petition.

A widow(er) married to a USC (for at least 2 years) may apply under certain circumstances. A battered spouse or child who resided with a USC/LPR spouse/parent may apply under certain circumstances and may self-petition: that is, they will not have to depend on the batterer to file the petition.

There are some immigration lawyer instances where a family member is already in the U.S. but entered without inspection (“E.W.I.”), or perhaps entered with inspection but overstayed the period of authorization on his/her visa. Some of these cases present tricky issues regarding waivers of unlawful presence (“ULP”) three and ten year bars. Beginning March 4, 2013, certain applicants have been able to file waivers state-side, without having to depart the United States. If a family member has been previously deported and re-entered, or entered the U.S. illegally more than one time, other tricky issues arise regarding waivers, permanent bars to admission (and AOS) are a concern. Only a experienced immigration attorney may advise you after careful consideration of the particular facts of your case. These cases present different results depending upon BIA and federal circuit court treatment.

If your relative may not apply for his/her waiver in conjunction with an AOS application in the U.S., you face the difficult decision of whether to seek consular processing, or wait for a change in the law. An immigration lawyer is needed to assess your chances of successfully winning a “waiver case” at the consulates based upon your individual circumstances. Although the pre-adjudicated (state-side) waiver may appear to be an easy option, not all grounds of inadmissibility are wimmigration lawyeraived under this new process. In the context of consular processing, a “visa” is a “green card,” or permanent residency. In the context of AOS, a “visa” may allow the relative (spouse or children) to enter the U.S. to allow the AOS process to continue until the “green card” or permanent residency is granted (see: K-1 fiancé, K-3 Spousal visa, or V-visa. One of the benefits of consular processing is speed. A petition may be approved and your relative will enter with his/her residency completed often in is as little as six to eight months in comparison to three to five years at the USCIS offices.

Availability for a visa to enter the USA as an LPR, may depend upon the availability of a visa (see:Visa Numbers). Again, comprehensive immigration may eventually do away with the lengthy wait-times for visa availability. However, there is no guarantee that there will actually be a change in the law.
Same-sex applications are not treated any differently than other applications, following the repeal of DOMA by the U.S. Supreme Court. We welcome LGBT clients and are here to assist all people equally.