Family-based immigration in the United States is designed to help family members stay together. Given the complexities of immigration law and the limits on the number of family-based immigrant visas that may be issued each year, it takes a knowledgeable immigration and nationality lawyer to help you obtain a family-based visa for your loved one.
Family-Based Immigration Lawyer
At NPZ Law Group, P.C., our practice is dedicated to helping citizens and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. bring family members to this country. We understand the hardship that being separated from family members can bring and the challenges immigrants face gaining admission to the U.S.
Whether you wish to sponsor an immediate or extended family member for an immigrant visa, we can help. We will take the time to explain how the immigration system works, help you navigate the visa application process, and work tirelessly to help you reunite your family. Contact our office today to speak with a dedicated family-based immigration attorney.
How Does Family-Based Immigration Work?
Family-based immigration basically involves at least two family members – a petitioner and a beneficiary. The petitioner is the person seeking to sponsor a foreign family member (the beneficiary) for an immigrant visa or permanent resident status. To qualify, a petitioner must be at least 21 years of age, and a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
There are two main categories of family-based visas – immediate relative and family preference immigrant visas. Immediate relatives include spouses, parents, and unmarried children (under age 21) of U.S. citizens. There are unlimited immediate relative visas available each year and applicants do not have to have to wait for a visa number to become available.
Other family members may be eligible for a family preference visa. There is a limited number of visas available under this category each year and applicants must wait for a visa number before they can apply. In any event, having permanent resident status allows a family member to live and work in the U.S. permanently.
Immediate Relative (IR) Immigrant Visa
Immediate relative visas are reserved for the spouse, unmarried children, and parents of a U.S. citizen. Types of immediate relative visas include:
- IR1 – Spouses of a U.S. citizen
- IR2 – Unmarried children (under age 21) of a U.S. citizen
- IR3 – Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen
- IR4 – Orphan to be adopted in the United States by a U.S. citizen
- IR5 – Parents of a U.S. citizen (who is at least 21 years old)
If your family member does not fall under one of these categories, he or she may still be eligible for a family preference visa.
Family Preference Immigrant Visa
Family preference visas are available to other qualifying family members, typically more distant relatives of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Types of family preference visas include:
- FB-1 (family first preference) – Unmarried, adult children (age 21 or over) of U.S. citizens
- FB-2A (family second preference) – Spouses and unmarried children (under age 21) of legal permanent residents
- FB-2B – Unmarried adult children of legal permanent residents
- FB-3 (family third preference) – Married children of U.S. citizens, their spouses, and minor children
- FB-4 (family fourth preference) – Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens (21 and older), their spouses, and minor children
Unfortunately, grandparents, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, cousins, and in-laws cannot be directly petitioned for family preference visas.
The Family-Based Immigration Process
To obtain either type of family-based visa, the sponsor must file a Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The filing or approval of this petition does not grant any immigration status or benefit. The most important aspect of the filing of the petition is that a Priority Date is established for the prospective beneficiary.
The sponsor must be able to prove there is a qualifying relationship with his or her relative that qualifies them to immigrate to the U.S. In addition, family members seeking immigrant visas must have the following documents:
- Passports that are valid for 6 months beyond the proposed date of entry into the U.S.
- Affidavit of support from the sponsor (Form I-864)
- Application for alien registration
- Two identifying photographs
- Civil documents (e.g. birth or marriage certificates, with translations, if necessary)
- Completed medical exam forms
Once the petition is approved, the beneficiary may apply to become a lawful permanent resident at a U.S. embassy or consulate. In some cases the individual can apply for Adjustment of Status if they have been in the U.S. in valid status.
How NPZ Law Group Can Help
Bringing a family member to the U.S. and obtaining a family-based immigrant visa can be complicated and confusing. There are rigid procedures that must be followed, petitions and affidavits that must be completed accurately, and the application must contain all the required documentation. If there are mistakes or missing documents, the application will be denied and you will need to start the process all over again.
Let our experienced immigration and nationality attorneys assist you with the application process and represent you before USCIS. We have established working relationships with the U.S. immigration officials who view us as dedicated professionals with the highest ethical standards. We understand that being separated from your loved ones is difficult, especially when they are facing misfortune in their home country. The NPZ Law Group immigration lawyers stand by you every step of the way and help to keep your family together.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Family-Based Immigration Lawyers Today
With offices in New Jersey, New York, and Indiana, NPZ Law Group is dedicated to helping U.S. citizens and permanent residents around the world to reunite with their family members. We have extensive experience handling applications for immediate relative and family preference immigrant visas. Let our family help your family. Contact our office today to get started.
We handle marriage cases for foreign nationals who marry U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents and who seek to obtain green cards in the U.S. through the Adjustment of Status process. We also assist with Consular Processing for foreign nationals who marry U.S. Citizens and Green Card holders.
With offices in New Jersey, New York, and Indiana (and with affiliated offices in India and Canada), NPZ Law Group helps immigrants and their families nationwide with all types of family-based immigration issues.