Family sponsored immigration is one common way that non-citizens are able to come lawfully to the United States or legalize their status from within the country. Many areas of immigration law rely to a greater or lesser extent on family relationships to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or non-immigrant visa holders.
In general, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can file family-based visa petitions with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”). The visa petition is DHS’s opportunity to examine and decide whether the relationship is one that must be recognized for immigration purposes. Once a visa petition is approved, the intended immigrant must wait until a visa is available before applying for lawful permanent residence, if otherwise eligible.
With lawful permanent residence (“a green card”), an immigrant is permitted to live and work indefinitely in the United States. He is also permitted to travel for short trips, receive benefits, and petition for relatives. Finally, lawful permanent residence is one step in a path toward U.S. citizenship. After some time as a lawful permanent resident, many immigrants are eligible to become citizens of the United States.
U.S. citizens can petition for their spouses, minor children, adult sons and daughters, step-children, parents – if the son or daughter is over 21 years of age, and siblings. Lawful permanent residents may petition for their spouses, minor children, and adult non-married sons and daughters. Visas are immediately available for some of these categories. Others immigrants must wait over a decade for a visa to become available.
Kriezelman Burton and Associates, LLC has helped thousands of immigrant families stay united through the family petitioning process. If you have family members with status in the United States, schedule a consultation in our offices to see how family-based immigration can help you.
Humanitarian Reinstatement (death of the petitioner)