Navigate Your Family-based Immigration to America

So now, you’ve finally moved to the U.S., a land of dreams. Moving to America opens you up to a plethora of opportunities. But there’s one more thing – moving to America could mean you’ll be separated from your family. This is the most challenging aspect of your relocation, and that’s why many people will do everything possible to reunify with their family members. However, you still have complex family-based immigration laws to deal with when trying to move your family to the U.S. 

The process may seem discouraging at times, but what keeps you going is the big picture. You can secure immigration visas for your family members if you have the right people in your corner. Here’s a detailed guide to help you navigate family-based immigration in the United States.

What is Family-based Immigration?

There are several routes to gaining permanent residency in the United States. One of the most popular routes is through family-based immigration. According to the U.S. Constitution, this type of immigration allows United States citizens and LPRs (lawful permanent residents) to bring family members to America. Family-based immigration accounts for 2/3 of immigrants into the United States. However, despite the popularity of this type of immigration, it is still one of the most complex immigration routes. American citizens and residents often need clarification about the exact laws and application processes. 

The Application Process

This is one of those processes that can either be simple or complex, depending on the kind of information you have. The process begins with a petitioner filing an immigration request with the immigration authorities. At this stage, you’ll be required to fill out Form I-130, known as the Petition for Alien Relatives. On the approval of this form, the immigration authorities will generate a visa number for your relative. The family member can then use the visa number to apply for a green card. If everything goes well, they will receive residency status adjustment or consular processing. 

The process can sometimes be more challenging and slow than many people think. In fact, there have been reports of people waiting for years and even decades to receive their visas for this kind of immigration. The wait time is usually affected by the demand and the limited number of visas available. However, that’s not to say you can’t be lucky to get your visa in the shortest possible time. It all boils down to who’s helping you and a bit of luck.

Financial Requirements for Sponsor

Before applying for this kind of visa, you’ll need to have a relative who is a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident. This relative is called a sponsor and must be 21 years old or older. On financial requirements, a sponsor must prove that they earn up to or above 125% of the federal poverty level. An exception is a sponsor that’s actively engaged in the nation’s armed forces. Such sponsors can invite a family immigrant if they earn an equivalent of 100% of the United States poverty line or above. Just so you know, specific requirements will depend on the size of your household. 

Who Qualifies for This Kind of Visa?

To be eligible for this kind of visa, you must be a spouse or an unmarried child below 21 years old to the primary applicant. People in this category are called derivative beneficiaries. 

The primary applicant must include the accompanying relative to the visa petition. Including them in the visa petition automatically initiates the immigration process for the relative. However, during the process, they’ll then need to initiate their applications for the adjustment of status to become permanent residents. 

Note that you can apply for permanent residency if you’re only an accompanying relative of someone related to a United States citizen. 

Supporting Documents Required for a Family-Based Green Card

Now that you know a bit about family-based immigration into the United States, you’re probably thinking of inviting your relative. But wait, there’s one more thing to know. Both parties must include certain documents in their application to prove their eligibility. For visas from both the family preference and immediate relative categories, you’ll need the following documents: 

  • Passport valid for a minimum of six months before the scheduled date of your entry into the United States
  • Birth certificates for applicants claiming to be children of U.S. citizens. 
  • Marriage certificate for applicants claiming to be spouses of U.S. citizens. 
  • Documents proving marriage termination (where applicable)
  • A legitimate affidavit of support 
  • A medical examination certificate

All documents written in other languages must be translated into English. Depending on certain individual situations, immigration officials may request other additional documents.

Should You Hire an Immigration Lawyer?

One question we often see people ask is whether or not they need an immigration lawyer when applying for family-based immigration. This type of immigration is different and often more complicated than other immigration processes. Thus, it requires excellent knowledge of the U.S. federal laws. You may only be able to interpret the law if you’re a trained lawyer efficiently. The last thing you want is to save time and money by achieving something. It would be best if you had a skilled lawyer who could guide you through the process. A skilled family-based immigration lawyer will ensure that you understand your responsibilities. They’ll also help make sure you understand and prepare for potential obstacles you may encounter.

The Coleman Law Group Can Help You

Navigating your family-based immigration can be a complex process. However, it’s achievable if you have the correct information and help. So far, we’ve provided enough information to help you understand this type of immigration and the processes involved. 

However, if you still need clarification, you can contact us at Coleman Law Group. We have skilled family-based immigration lawyers who can help you understand and seamlessly navigate the process. 

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