Family Based Immigration
This page explains the various types of family immigration services we can help you with.
- Adjustment of Status
- Consular Processing
- Removal of Conditional Residence
- Fiancés of United States Citizens
- Widow(er) of United States Citizens
- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Many people obtain green cards through family members. However, not all family relationships qualify for immigration purposes. Some family visa categories allow an unlimited number of people to obtain visas each year whereas other categories limit the available visas per year. Our job is to get you through this process as quickly as possible by choosing the easiest, most efficient path to permanent resident status.
Family visas are available to:
- Parents, children, and spouses of U.S. citizens – unlimited numbers
- Fiancés of U.S. citizens – unlimited numbers
- Adult children (married or unmarried) of U.S. citizens – limited numbers
- Brothers or sisters of U.S. citizens – limited numbers
- Spouses, children, and unmarried adult children of lawful permanent residents – limited numbers
Adjustment of Status: Certain people are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) while inside the United States. An immediate relative relationship allows you to apply on Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to become a permanent resident at the same time your U.S. citizen petitioner files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
Consular Processing: If you are currently outside the United States and are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you can become a permanent resident through consular processing. Consular processing is when USCIS works with the U.S. Department of State to issue a visa on an approved Form I-130 petition. Once a visa is available, you may then travel on this immigrant visa and will officially become a permanent resident when admitted at a U.S. port of entry. The Department of State will notify you when you are eligible to apply for an immigrant visa. If you do not apply for an immigrant visa within one year following notification from the Department of State, your petition may be terminated.
Conditional permanent residents: Your permanent residence status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old on the day you were given permanent residence status.
Your status is conditional, because you must prove that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States. To remove the conditions of your permanent residence, you must prove that you:
- Are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 2 years. You may include your children in your application if they received their conditional-resident status either at the same time or within 90 days as you did;
- Are a child and, for a valid reason, cannot be included in your parents’ application;
- Are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith;
- Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment; or
- Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse.
If you fail to properly file Form I-751 within the 90-day period before your second anniversary as a conditional resident your conditional resident status will automatically be terminated and removal proceedings will be initiated against you.
Fiancés of United States citizens can obtain permission to enter the U.S. temporarily, but are required to marry their U.S. citizen fiancé and file for permanent resident status within 90 days of entry in the United States. Children under 21 years of age are allowed to enter with the visa holder.
Widow(er) of United States citizens are eligible to immigrate to the U.S. if you:
- Were married to a U.S. citizen at the time he or she passed away;
- Either have a pending or approved Form I-130 or you have filed a Form I-360 within 2 years of your spouse’s death;
- Are not remarried;
- Were not divorced or legally separated from your spouse at the time he or she died;
- Are able to prove that you entered the marriage in good faith and not solely to obtain an immigration benefit; and
- Are admissible to the United States.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows an abused spouse, child, or parent of a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident to file an immigrant visa petition on their own without the abuser’s knowledge. Both women and men can file an immigrant visa petition under VAWA. Once the applicant has been placed in deferred action, he or she may apply to work in the United States.
Eligibility requirements for a spouse:
- Qualifying spousal relationship:
- You are married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser or
- Your marriage to the abuser was terminated by death or a divorce (related to the abuse) within the 2 years prior to filing your petition, or
- Your spouse lost or renounced citizenship or permanent resident status within the 2 years prior to filing your petition due to an incident of domestic violence, or
- You believed that you were legally married to your abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse but the marriage was not legitimate solely because of the bigamy of your abusive spouse.
- You or your child has suffered battery or extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse.
- You entered into the marriage in good faith, not solely for immigration benefits.
- You have resided with your spouse.
- You are a person of good moral character.
*The attorney attends all Adjustment of Status interviews before USCIS with our clients.*