If you have ever dreamt of getting into the US, you know how challenging it can be to get a visa or a green card. Fortunately for you, there is an easy way for you to achieve your
A green card is referred to as a lawful permanent resident card that shows that you have the status to live in the US. When you have a green card, you are automatically considered a permanent resident of the US. The process is much easier when applying through a family member already in the US, which is why you need the help of an experienced attorney to help your dreams come true, particularly if you have family already residing in the US as citizens. You can make an application for the green card through a family petition and successfully qualify for the card. An attorney can help you with the process.
Our attorneys at California Immigration Attorney have the necessary skills and expertise to help bring a family member into the US. We will dedicate our time to research and go through the facts of the case and gather all the relevant information to increase the chances of you or your family member to be allowed in the US through greed card status.
Immigrant Relative Visa Petitions
As a citizen with a family outside the country who wishes to come into the US, you can help them secure a permanent stay in the country. US immigration laws provide priority to immediate family members of US citizens. These close family members don’t have a limit on the number of visas they can apply for.
However, for non-immediate relatives, there is a limited number of relatives who can immigrate to the US. A non-immediate relative must also wait for a visa to be processed before applying for permanent residence.
The Family Immigration Process
United States immigration law allows US citizens to bring in their family members to the US through green card sponsorship through the family unification process. The family brought in through the green card status will later receive an opportunity to apply for permanent residence. immigration process involves:
Filing an I-130 Petition
The first step to filing for immigration status is filing a form I-130 Petition for alien relatives. When filing the petition, you must prove that you are related to the family you want to bring to the US. The petition is directed to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which will review it then decide whether to allow or deny the request.
However, if they are already in the US for other reasons, you need to file a petition amending the temporary stay to permanent. You should also pay the necessary fee when submitting the petition.
Wait for the Petition to Be Approved
The USCIS will provide you with an I-797C receipt, Notice of Action after submitting your petition. You can use this receipt to track each stage of the process of your petition online. During this time, USCIS may ask you for additional information concerning the petition. You must provide every piece of information to help make the process much easier
Keep in mind that the process may take months or years for it to complete. Immediate family members are usually given preference. So for your children or spouse, the process may take months, unlike that of a distant relative which can take a year or more.
Take an Immigrant Visa Number from the State Department
When your petition has been approved, your relative will be required to visit the US consulate in their residing country for the interview and application for VISA. Once issued with a VISA, it will be valid for six months.
As mentioned before, the process is slightly different when you want a visa for an immediate family member. Here are the things that you should know concerning Visa for a close family:
- Close family members do not have to wait for a VISA number once the petition has been approved. They will automatically be issued with the Visa number right away.
- Make an appointment immediately with the consulate for the visa interview.
- Follow the requirements provided by the consulate. These requirements include medical care.
- Wait for the visa to be stamped, then purchase a ticket to the US.
- Wait for the green card.
- Apply for the social security number.
The processing of the visa will start depending on the order in which they were applied. Keep in mind that you must have fully filed, completed, and signed the document during the petition stage to the USCIS. You can receive monthly reports on how your request is progressing.
If you are making an application for distant relatives, the visas will be given depending on the following order:
- The first preference is given to adults above 21 years who are not married.
- The second preference is given to the spouse of residents of the US or unmarried children of the US's permanent residents.
- Married children of the citizens of the US, their spouses, and children.
- The fourth preference is given to siblings of US citizens, their spouses, and children.
Applying for the Social Security Number
Once the person you were applying for arrives in the US, they must apply for a social security number. The social security number has various advantages to citizens of the US. These advantages include:
- It allows you to work in the US.
- Have business transactions with banks or other financial institutions.
- Pay taxes.
Adjustment of Status
If you are a green card holder without a permanent stay in the US, but you have a relative in the country who wishes to be a permanent resident, you should help them apply for their status. During this time, the applicant should have a valid immigration status and be able to maintain it. This means that they should have a Visa, either an H-1B work visa or an F-1 student visa until the application for a green card is completed.
The applicant should have a valid visa number before applying for the green card. The visa should be valid for at least two and a half years.
If you are a green card holder but not a US citizen and have a relative who wishes to be an American citizen despite not having a valid immigration status, you should help them apply from abroad through the consular process. Invalid immigration status is about to expire or has expired, and you are unable to secure an extension or a new visa as you wait for the processing of the green card.
If your relative continues staying in the US for more than six months after the visa expiration date, they will not be allowed back in the US for three to ten years when they leave.
When seeking a Family-Based Green Cards, you must remember the following key features:
- The educational or work background of your relative doesn’t matter when applying for a green card.
- Your partner or young children below 21 years of age who are unmarried qualify for a green card.
- You can be placed in removal proceedings and have the green card taken from you if you fail to be honest in your application document.
- You can only qualify for a green card through a relative leaving in the US if you fall under these categories:
- If you are already an immediate relative of the US citizen
- If you are a preference citizen or the green card holder
- If you are accompanying a relative of the person living in the US
- If you are a sponsor, you must be at least 18 years, a US citizen, and live in the US to successfully bring in a person in the country.
You must also sign an affidavit showing that you can support the relative at a standard of living that is not below 125% of the national poverty level.
You can apply for a green card as a deprived family if you are a spouse or an unmarried child below 21 years. You must fulfill the following criteria for you to qualify for application under deprive family:
- You correctly file Form I-485.
- You are the principal applicant or spouse.
- You have been inspected and paroled in the US.
- You were present in the US at the time of application.
- Any adjustments do not bar you.
- You have lawful permanent residence in the US.
- You have more positive cases than negative cases that means you meet all the favorable merits under US immigration laws discretions.
K-1 Visa or Fiancée Pétitions
If you have a fiance outside the country, and you would like to bring them into the US, the immigration laws allow you to do so through a K-1 visa. K-1 VISA, also known as fiance petition, is a visa that allows a person who is engaged to a US citizen to enter the country and get married not later than 90 days. Once married, the couple can then apply for a green card(permanent residence) based on the marriage relationship’s validity. A fiance petition is right when you want to wait a little bit longer before getting married. However, if you don't want to wait, you can skip the K-1 visa and proceed to marriage, then later apply for the green card as a married couple on a spousal visa. The process involved in the K-1 visa include:
Meet the Eligibility Criteria
For you to qualify for a K-1 visa, you need to abide by the following requirements:
- You must be a US citizen or a green card holder.
- You and your partner should be eligible for marriage; that means none of you should be engaged to someone else. So death and divorce certificates should be provided, showing proof of termination of previous relationships.
- If you are a same-sex couple, you qualify for the visa irrespective of your country's laws.
- Provide proof of the relationships through means such as photographs, flight taken together, hotel itineraries, and dated photos.
- A signed statement from both you and your partner showing the intent to marry within 90 days after arriving in the US.
- You must show that you have the necessary financial means since you live in the US; this means they must meet the required federal poverty guidelines.
- You should provide evidence that you and your partner have met at least once within two years before filing the K-1 form.
File the Form I-129F
When applying for a K-1 visa, you must file Form I-129F, which is simply a Petition for Alien Fiancé with the USCIS to provide the relationship's validity. The documents needed when filing this form include:
- Show evidence that you are a US citizen by providing birth certificates, a copy of a passport, and a naturalization certificate.
- As a sponsoring fiance, you must provide a copy of your passport.
- Flight and hotel itineraries or photos that show that there have been meetups.
- Sworn statements showing the legitimacy of the relationship
- A previously issued by Form I-94 arrival-departure record.
- One passport-style photo of you and your fiance
- A fee of $535 accompanying the documents
Once you have submitted and paid the fees to the USCIS, they will send you a notice of receipt within 30 days.
Form DS-160 and Interview
Once the USCIS has received all the necessary information and approved it, the information will be handed over to the state department. The department will then send a notice to your fiance through the embassy in their residing country, informing them of the visa interview and the date and all the requirements needed for the interview. Your fiance will be required to carry all the documents listed by the USCIS when going for the interview.
As a person sponsoring your fiance, you should carry the following documents:
- Two passport-style photos.
- Birth certificate.
- Valid passport.
- Police clearance certificate from all countries of residence since age 16.
- Medical exam form that is sealed (a physician authorized by the State Department should conduct the medical examination).
Your fiance, on the other hand, should carry the following documents when going for the interview:
- An affidavit supporting the form I-134.
- The tax returns(most recent).
- Proof showing that both of you are in a relationship.
The interview will occur at or near the US embassy within six weeks after the notice's receipt. You must carry a fee of $265 before the interview.
Arrival and Marriage
Your fiance will be given a six-month duration to travel to the US from the day of the K-1 approval. After the arrival of your fiance, the two of you should get married within 90 days; otherwise, the fiance will lose the K-1 status. Once married, you can then proceed to apply for a green card based on marriage. Keep in mind that a K-1 visa does not allow you to change to another visa. You can not change your visa to a green card based on marriage with a different person other than the original sponsor.
Getting a Green Card a Widower of US Citizen
If you are a widow or a widower whose spouse was a US citizen, you can apply for a green card. However, you must show proof of two years of marriage for at least two years before your spouse died for you to immigrate into the US. You must also provide proof that you were legally married. If your spouse had filed for a petition for an alien relative before the untimely death, you don’t need to file any form. That petition for a distant relative will be converted to a petition for American, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant or simply a Form I-360. This petition also allows you to add your children who are below 21 to the form. If you are remarried, then you disqualify from the application.
If your spouse living in the US had not filed for form I-360 at the time of their death, then you can file a petition as an immediate relative on form I-360.
Eligibility As a Widow/Widower
You qualify for a green card as a widow or widow only if you can prove the following:
- That you were legally married to the person who died while still a US citizen
- You have a form already in the process.
- You filed a Form I-360 within two years after the death of your spouse.
- You have not remarried.
- You did not separate or divorce from your spouse at the time of their untimely death.
- Bonafide relationship proof at the time your spouse died.
- You are admissible into the US.
You need to file the necessary forms when applying for the green card under the widow/widower petition. If in the US, you can file Form I-485, an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. However, you must first file form I-360. However, if you already have form I-485 filed based on your spouse’s petition, the USCIS will continue with the process.
If you are not currently in the US, your petition will be forwarded to the US Embassy in your residing country.
When making the application, you must provide the necessary documents. These documents include:
- Birth certificate copies
- Passport style photos
- If you have a non-immigrant visa, you should provide a copy of the passport page.
- Medical examination and report
- Arrival and departure records for form I- 94
- All the necessary documents are required for the I-136 form, form I-130, and Form I-693.
If children are involved, you could include them in your petition. Children over 21 years enjoy protection under the Child Status Protection Act.
Green Card for VAWA Self-Petitioner
You can also apply for a green card if you are a victim of violence. Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows women who have been victims of cruelty or battery from either:
- A US citizen who is their parent.
- A US citizen who is their spouse.
- A lawful permanent resident spouse.
- A lawful permanent resident parent.
What you need to do is self-petition if you have been a victim of abuse. Self portion involves filing a Special Immigrant (Form I-360) secretly without informing the abusive person. Filing the petition secretly ensures your life and your interests are protected from the abuser.
For you to be eligible as a self-petitioner for readjustment of Status under VAWA, you must meet the following criteria:
- You file form I-485 or the adjustment of status correctly.
- You are living in the US at the time of filing the form.
- You qualify for an immigrant visa.
- You qualify for a permanent residence or waiver of any inadmissibility.
- When filing for form I-485, you immediately qualify for an immigrant visa.
If you used fraudulent means to enter the United States or committed any wrong, you would be disbarred from readjusting your status. However, as a VAWA self-petitioner, you are exempted from all the bars.
If you want to apply as a person who is already in the US, you need to apply for a green card by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. You should also have an approved Form I-360 for you to get the green card.
Find an Immigration Attorney Near Me
Being separated from your spouse or relative can be challenging, especially when they are several miles away in another country. When your relative wants to come to the US, many factors may hinder you from fulfilling this dream. The process of seeking out a green card can be more challenging than you imagine when you have no idea where to start. The process usually involves a lot of things that include filing various documents and proving your relations with the person residing in the US.
It would help if you had someone to help you with the process by following the right channel and procedures to receive a green card. This is why an attorney will help you make the right choices and collect the correct documents to be eligible for the green card. Choose an attorney from California Immigration Attorney to help you with the process. You can easily reach us at 424-789-8809.