Family-Based Immigration Lawyer: Visa Requirements, FAWs, and Hiring an Immigration Lawyer in Phoenix

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Family members and loved ones wish to reunite in the United States. Through family sponsorship, a United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident can bring their family member to the United States. And, with the help of an experienced immigration attorney, you may be eligible to obtain a green card for your family member or loved one. Family-sponsored visas or family-based petitions allow individuals in the United States to sponsor their family members, allowing them to eventually become permanent residents. By working with a family immigration lawyer, you can rest assured that the process will go as smoothly as possible.

Immigration law for a family member’s visa is based on the premise that the family member is coming to the United States due to his or her relation to a citizen or a legal permanent resident. While you may be eligible to bring your family member to the United States, the process will be difficult. You’ll need to provide evidence, fill out forms, and adhere to strict timelines in order to secure family-sponsored immigration. Working with an experienced Phoenix family immigration attorney can help ease the process of sponsoring your family members or loved ones.

What Is Family-Based Immigration?

Under the current immigration law, United States citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are able to sponsor certain family members for a visa providing permanent residence. Family immigration is the primary basis for legal immigration.

What Cases Do Family-Based Immigration Petitions Apply to?

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There are two types of family-based immigration visas. There are:

Immediate Relatives

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried children of U.S. citizens, under the age of 21
  • Orphans adopted abroad
  • Orphans to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
  • Parents of U.S. citizens at least 21 years of age

Family Preference Categories

  • Unmarried children of U.S. citizens, their spouses and their children
  • Spouses, minor children, and unmarried children over 21 of lawful permanent residents
  • Married children of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children
  • Siblings of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children, provided the citizen is at least 21 years of age

United States citizens and lawful permanent residents cannot sponsor grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins for immigration.

Petitioning for Relatives

As a United States citizen, you will have to file a petition for your family member that wants to enter the U.S. A family petition lawyer can walk you through the process of petitioning for your family member or loved one.

In order to qualify to sponsor a family member, you must first make sure you meet the requirements to sponsor said family member or loved one:

  • You have evidence to prove that you are a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident.
  • You have a qualifying relationship with the individual you are petitioning on behalf of.
  • You can demonstrate that you have the means to support the family immigration applicant at 125% or more above the poverty line.
  • You must file Form I-130, along with the other necessary family immigration forms.

If you have questions about your sponsorship eligibility, our Phoenix family sponsorship lawyers can discuss your qualifications with you.

Once you’ve determined that you can petition for family immigration, you can then proceed to petition for your relative.

Green cards for family preference immigration can fall into either immediate relative classifications or other family “preference immigration” classifications.

Immediate Relative Classifications

If you are a United States citizen, you can sponsor the following family members within the immediate relative classifications:

  • Husband or wife
  • Unmarried children under the age of 21
  • Mother or father, if you are 21 years or older
  • Adopted child, if you adopted your child abroad
  • Adopted child to be adopted in the United States

Limited Family Based Green Card

If your relationship with your family member is considered a limited family-based green card, then you will apply within the following preference categories:

  • First preference: You are a United States citizen petitioning for unmarried sons/daughters who are 21 years and older.
  • Second preference: You are an LPR sponsoring your spouse and children, who are unmarried and younger than 21 years old.
  • Third preference: Your married son/daughter if you are a United States citizen.
  • Fourth preference: Your brothers/sisters if you are a United States citizen that is 21 or older.

Please note that green cards through family sponsorships do depend on the preference level. Speak to a Phoenix family sponsorship lawyer about which preference level your family members will fall into. If your family member falls into a lower preference, work with your immigration lawyer to discuss when exactly to apply. If too many qualified candidates for a specific preference category exist, then the immigrant visas are given depending on the filing date.

Applying for a family immigration visa early can help in your success of attaining a green card on behalf of your loved one.

Visa Forms

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Different types of visas for family members wishing to enter the United States to gain permanent residency with their family exist. The files through the application process can make immigration for family members a bit confusing.

The type of benefit you may qualify for depends on the type of relative you are.

Necessary forms for petition include:

Additional submissions are required for specific family relationships, including:

  • Passport-type photos
  • Government-issued ID
  • Copy of your birth certificate
  • Passport information with your nonimmigrant visa

Depending on your current nonimmigrant status, you will have to submit various other documents. Working with a family sponsorship lawyer can be extremely beneficial. The process of filing all of the right forms can be time-consuming and confusing. Furthermore, missing a form during your application process can hinder the chances of a family immigration green card. An experienced family immigration lawyer will know how to organize all of the paperwork and ensure that all of the evidence and documentation are filed in a timely manner.

Petition for Fiancé Visa

A fiancé of a United States citizen residing outside of the United States and children of a fiancé residing outside of the United States are eligible for a fiancé visa. The United States citizen must file a petition for his or her fiancé by completing Form I-129F. Spouses and unmarried children under 21 may also petition for a K-3 and K-4 visa by completing Form I-129F or I-130.

How to File for a Family-Based Immigration Petition

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The family-based immigration process typically starts with the petitioner (U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) submitting a request to the United States government for a foreign relative to immigrate. The petition will file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition will establish the existence of a qualifying family relationship that falls within the immediate relative category or family preference category. Once the I-130 petition is approved by the USCIS and a visa number is available, the foreign family member may then apply for a green card.

Eligibility Requirements for Adjustment of Status

Adjustment of status is available to only a small group of applicants. That’s why adjustment is usually only used by immediate relatives, spouses that entered as K-1 fiancés, refugees, or those on an employment visa where the employer-sponsored their green card.

In order to file an adjustment of status application, three fundamental requirements must be met by the intending immigrant. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Being physically present inside the U.S.
  • Making a lawful entry into the U.S.
  • An immigrant visa must be immediately available to you.

The intending immigrant must maintain eligibility throughout the duration of the adjustment process. A change in circumstance can affect the adjustment application success.

Family Sponsorship FAQs

No. You can always file an I-130 petition on your own, without the assistance of a family sponsorship lawyer or immigration attorney.

However, nothing in immigration law is simple, and the smallest mistake, omission or misstatement on the forms will have a very unpleasant effect of delaying and otherwise hampering the petition.

The filing fee for Form I-130 is $535 and cannot be waived.

You can expect to wait approximately 6-9 months to receive your family-sponsored visa. A family sponsorship lawyer will be able to help you determine the best time to apply.

In some cases, after filing form I-130, petition for alien relative, the approval process can take up to 12 months for immediate relatives and could take several years for family preference categories.

There is a limit on the number of visas issued to immigrants in the family preference category. The length of the wait depends on the category and the petition filing date. USCIS could approve the petition in as little as 6 months for a visa in the F2A category, but usually a much longer wait for other categories. You will still need to wait for the visa to become available before the green card application can be submitted. Overall, it could take anywhere from 6 months to several years after the initial filing.

Contact a Phoenix Family Immigration Lawyer Today

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The Phoenix immigration attorneys here at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group have the knowledge to help foreign nationals with their visa and green card petitions. We can also help you submit Form AR-11 if you are an immigrant who intends to change their address. Call us today at 602-910-4040 to schedule a consultation with us.

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