Many immigrants move to the United States to start a life here with their families. This is an exciting yet often complicated process for most, which is why it’s always best to proceed with a dedicated family immigration lawyer in your corner. Contact the Law Offices of Aditya Surti, LLC today to learn more about the various routes for family immigration to the United States and how our legal team can help.
Family Immigration Lawyer | Serving Clients in NJ. NY & throughout the 50 States
If you need a family immigration lawyer who can help you and your family live a happy, productive life here in the United States, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve helped countless families stay together over the years, and we’d be honored to help you as well. Put your trust in a competent New Jersey immigration lawyer from our firm.
The K-1 (Fiance) Visa
A k-1 visa is required if a U.S. citizen plans to marry a foreign national and wishes to bring him or her to the U.S. for marriage. The petition must be made with the USCIS by filing Form I-129F. Once approved, the petition will be transferred to National Visa Center and the fiancé must appear for Consular Processing. The marriage must take place within 90 days of the person entering the U.S. on a K-1 visa. The U.S. citizen petitioner must have met the K-1 visa holder at least once within 2 years of filing the petition unless this requirement would violate the strict and long-established customs of your foreign culture or that it would result in extreme hardship to the petitioner. There should be no legal impediments to the marriage and both parties must be in a position to enter into a valid marriage.
Once the marriage takes place, the USC can petition for an immigrant visa and the K-1 visa holder can adjust their status without leaving this country.
If the marriage does not take place, then the K-1 visa holder has to leave the country immediately.
Traveling outside the U.S. is not permitted on a K-1 visa. If the K-1 visa holder has unmarried children under the age of 21 years, then K-2 visas are available for them to enter the U.S. K-1 visa holders may apply for work authorization. If you have any questions about the K-1 visa or you would like to obtain one, turn to a seasoned family immigration lawyer from our firm today.
Family Immigration for Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens
Parents, spouses, and unmarried children below the age of 21 years fall under the category of immediate relatives of USC. There is an unlimited number of visas for this category and they do not have to wait for any priority date. If the immediate relative is already in the U.S. then they can apply for Adjustment of Status immediately and Form I-485 can be filed at the same time the USC petitioner files Form I-130. However, if the immediate relative is outside the U.S. then they have to go through Consular Processing.
“Conditional green cards” are issued to the spouse of a USC. That means the alien spouse’s permanent resident status is valid for two years from the time it is granted. This is just to confirm if the marriage still exists and has not been terminated by divorce or annulment during that period. Except for this condition, the alien spouse is a full permanent resident in all aspects. In order to remove the condition, the couple needs to jointly petition within 90 days before the end of the second year of the alien spouse’s admission as a permanent resident. Failure to do so will result in the termination of the alien spouse’s conditional permanent residence.
Immigration for Other Family Members of U.S. Citizens
The immigration law of the U.S. encourages family unity and hence allows USC to file a petition for their relatives to come and permanently live in U.S. A USC can sponsor via “family preference category” for unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21 or married child(ren) of any age or brothers and sisters (if the U.S. citizen petitioner is over the age of 21). The relatives of USC fitting under this category face a waiting period before it becomes available.
One can also get a green card under this category, if they are residing in the U.S., by filling out Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). If the relative of USC is currently outside the U.S., then he/she may become a permanent resident through consular processing.
Immigration for Family Members of Green Card Holders
The immigration law of the U.S. encourages family unity and hence allows permanent residents of the U.S. (green card holders) to file a petition for certain eligible relatives to come and permanently live in U.S. A green card holder may petition for his/her spouse and unmarried child(ren) of any age to immigrate to the U.S. Such relatives of U.S. green card holders fit into a category called as “family preference category.” Unlike the immediate relative of the U.S. citizen category where an immigrant visa becomes available immediately, the relatives of green card holders face a waiting period before it becomes available.
Family-Sponsored Preference Categories
Apart from the immediate relatives of the U.S. Citizens, there are other family members who qualify for permanent residency. However, they are subject to an annual numerical limit of immigrant visas. They are divided into different groups called “preferences”. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) the preference classes for allotment of such immigrant visas are provided as follows:
- First Category: (F1 Visa) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens
- Second Category: (F2A Visa) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents, (F2B Visa) Unmarried Children who are 21 years of age or older of Permanent Residents.
- Third Category: (F3 Visa) Married Children of U.S. Citizens
- Fourth Category: (F4 Visa) Siblings of U.S. Citizens
The U.S. Citizen or permanent resident must submit Form I-130 with the USCIS to establish the relationship with the alien beneficiary. Since there is a limited number of visas under this category, a priority date is fixed at the time of Form I-130 approval. The Department of State issues a Visa Bulletin every month to inform the public of priority dates. As and when the priority date becomes current the beneficiary of the petition may either adjust status if already in the U.S. or appear for Consular Processing at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in the country of their residence and where the file has been sent by the USCIS.
A U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident can sponsor a family-based immigration petition provided they meet some requirements and legal obligations. A Sponsor must be of 21 years and above to petition for an immigrant visa. He has to execute a legally binding affidavit of support for the Beneficiary, in which the Sponsor guarantees to maintain the standard of living of the intending immigrant at a level not lower than 125% of the national poverty level. This obligation continues until the Beneficiary has become a U.S. citizen or has worked in the United States for 40 qualifying quarters.
A “sibling” includes a brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or adopted brother or sister. For the necessary sibling relationship to exist, each person must have been a child of at least one of the same parents. The siblings need not share the same biological parents as long as both became “children” at the appropriate time, like, before the age of 16 in cases of adoption, and before the age of 18 for stepchildren.
An adopted child qualifies as long as the adoption was finalized before the child’s 16th birthday. A stepchild qualifies as long as the marriage had occurred before the stepchild’s 18th birthday.
Waivers are for those spouses and their kids who have accrued some period of unlawful presence in the United States and have to leave the country as part of the legal immigration process. Such spouses and kids are barred from re-entering the US for a period of 3 to 10 years.
In such cases, the families of the legal immigrant to the US can file an application to receive a waiver that allows them to return to their families by representing to the government that the citizen family member in the US is undergoing extreme hardship due to this separation, and they can request to waive off their re-entry to the United States.
Under the anticipated process, the spouses and children of U.S. citizens, eligible for a visa to immigrate legally but need a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence in the US, would apply for a provisional waiver before they leave the United States, leaving the United States to have their immigrant visa application processed at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.
Contact a New Jersey Family Immigration Lawyer Today
To schedule your appointment, contact a family immigration lawyer from the Law Offices of Aditya Surti, LLC online today. For immigration matters, we represent clients in all 50 states of the United States.