Family-Based Immigrant Visa Process
A U. S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (“green card” holder) may help a relative become a U. S. permanent resident by filing a family-based immigrant visa petition on their behalf. Through this process, a foreign national who is granted U. S. permanent residency has the privilege of permanently living and working in the United States. The immigration lawyers in our Michigan office can help you with the family-based immigrant visa process.
The family-based immigrant visa process begins with the U. S. citizen or permanent resident filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of their qualifying relative, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The I-130 must be accompanied by various forms and documents, to include documentation establishing the relationship between the U. S. citizen or permanent resident, and the foreign national relative.
A U. S. citizen may file an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of the following foreign national relatives:
A U. S. permanent resident may file an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of the following foreign national relatives:
Please note that the definitions of each qualifying relationship listed above are defined by immigration law, and in some cases do not carry their common, everyday meaning. Furthermore, processing and waiting times may be extensive for some of the categories listed above, as there are limited numbers of visas available in each category in a given year.
Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available once the visa petition filed on their behalf is approved by the USCIS. An immediate relative is either a parent, spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen. The relatives in the remaining preference categories, outlined below, generally must wait for a visa number to become available:
1st PREFERENCE: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. Adult means 21 years or age or older;
2nd PREFERENCE: Spouses of U. S. permanent residents, their unmarried children (under 21 years of age), and the unmarried sons and daughters of U. S. permanent residents;
3rd PREFERENCE: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; and
4th PREFERENCE: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.
Once the I-130 is approved by USCIS, the second step of the process is to apply for an immigrant visa, provided an immigrant visa number is immediately available to the foreign national relative. Visa number availability is determined by the U. S. Department of State’s Visa Bulletin, and USCIS’ Adjustment of Status Filing Charts. If a visa is immediately available, then a decision must then be made whether the foreign national relative will consular process or adjust their status to obtain their permanent residency; this determination is made based on various criteria, to include, but not limited to: whether the foreign national is in the U. S. or abroad, whether the foreign national is in valid nonimmigrant status, and has maintained such status, whether the foreign national upon arriving to the United States was admitted, inspected, or paroled, and whether a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is petitioning on behalf of the foreign national.
If the foreign national will consular process, then the USCIS will send the I-130 approval to the Department of State's National Visa Center (NVC), where it will remain until an immigrant visa number is available. The NVC¬ will notify the U. S. citizen or permanent resident and foreign national when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is about to become available. They will also notify both the U. S. citizen or permanent resident, and foreign national when they must submit the visa processing fees and when supporting documents must be submitted.
If the foreign national will be filing for adjustment of status in the U. S., then depending on the adjustment category, they may be eligible to file their adjustment application (Form I-485) concurrently with their I-130. However, most categories require that you first establish your eligibility for the immigrant category by having an approved petition before you are allowed to file for adjustment using Form I-485. As a reminder, and as discussed above, you may not file your Form I-485 until a visa is available in your category.
Please note that in most cases, in order for the foreign national relative to obtain an immigrant visa, the U. S. citizen or permanent resident must prove that they can support the foreign national relative by providing documentation that their income is 125% above the poverty level for the size of their family, including the foreign national relative and their family members. If the U. S. citizen or permanent resident cannot meet this criteria, then they may have to obtain a joint sponsor, and/or use other resources to show that the foreign national relative has the means of financial support and will not become a public charge.
If you are interested in applying for a family-based
immigrant visa on behalf of your relative, our attorneys may assist you with the
The Law Firm of Antone, Casagrande & Adwers, P.C. helps individuals and businesses worldwide with all of their US immigration needs including employment visas, obtaining green cards for business and corporate employees and family members, visas for doctors, nurses, therapists, and other health care workers, together with waivers for physicians under J visa training program, labor certifications (PERM), national interest waivers, marriage-based adjustments and green cards, fiancee visas, family immigration preferences, students, naturalization and citizenship, including medical waivers, asylum, deportation, hardship waivers, voluntary departure and removal. We serve clients in southeast Michigan including the Detroit Metro area, Ann Arbor, and Lansing. With offices in Farmington Hills, MI, we are close to Southfield, Troy, West Bloomfield, Birmingham, Novi, Rochester and Auburn Hills in Oakland County; Canton, Plymouth, Dearborn, and Detroit in Wayne County; Warren, Sterling Heights, and Mount Clemens in Macomb County; Brighton and Howell in Livingston County; Lansing in Ingham County; City of Monroe in Monroe County, Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County; Grand Rapids in Kent County; Battle Creek in Calhoun County; Kalamazoo in Kalamazoo County; Benton Harbor in Berrien County; Holland in Ottawa County; Flint in Genesee County; Ludington in Mason County; Muskegon in Muskegon County; and Traverse City in Grand Traverse County, Michigan. Although many of our clients are located in the tri-county area of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb, we also serve clients in many cities and states in the U.S. including Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Indiana; Buffalo, New York; Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, California; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Dallas, Houston, El Paso and Galveston, Texas; Miami, Florida; Washington D.C.; Virginia, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and many others. In addition to the United States, we also serve Canadian nationals from numerous provinces in Canada, including Toronto and Windsor in Ontario; Montreal in Quebec; Halifax in Nova Scotia; and Vancouver, British Columbia. We also serve cities and countries such as London, England; Scotland and other countries of the United Kingdom (U.K.); Mexico, Paris, France; Frankfurt and Berlin, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; India; Brazil; Rome, Italy; Shanghai and Beijing, China; Belgium; the Philippines, and many other countries in Europe, Asia and South America.