Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Family Immigration

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Family Immigration

 

How can my wife become a resident?  We recently got married and she is illegal here in the U.S. I am a U.S. citizen.

 

As a U.S. citizen, you may file a petition for your spouse as immediate relatives. This means there is no wait for a visa number, since the Congress has placed no limitation on the number of immediate relative who may enter the U.S. each year. Thus, assuming that your spouse is already in the U.S. and eligible to adjust in the U.S., you may file the alien relative petition with a local USCIS office along with the adjustment of status application. If at the time of the AOS the marriage was less than two years old, then your wife becomes a conditional resident. If the marriage has been in existence for more than two years at the time of the interview, then a permanent green card is issued. It would take approximate 4-8 months. Maintaining legal visa status in the U.S. is not necessary for a spouse of a U.S. citizen. The most important supporting documents are to establish that the marriage is bona fide-that is, it was entered into for love and affection rather than for a green card. The birth certificate of your child born of the marriage will be very helpful to prove that a marriage is bona fide.

I am a United States citizen, how long would it take me to bring my mom or my brother to the U.S.?

 

Family-based petitions are probably the largest group of permanent residence petitions. They encompass family members and various others into immediate and preference categories. Your parent, spouse, or minor child of a U.S. citizen is an immediate relative. This means there is no wait for a visa number, since Congress has placed no limitation on the number of immediate relative who may enter the U.S. each year. Thus, assuming that you are over 21 years old, it would take approximately 10-12 months to bring your mother to this U.S. (Generally, USCIS takes 5 month to approve the alien relative petition, and after that NVC takes 3 months to process the case, and then the Embassy may take 1 to 2 months to schedule an interview.)

For other relatives like your brother, those in preference categories, there is a set number that can come to the U.S. each year.  It may take many years to become current.

 

I have been married for 5 years and am trying to get my green card. If I get a divorce now before I get my green card, will I get deported back home?

 

Generally speaking, in cases where a spouse is the petitioner in an alien relative petition, as long your marriage is was valid and you did not get married just to qualify for U.S. immigration benefits, you are still eligible for immigration. Your husband can file an immigration petition on your behalf. As you stated that your marriage has been in existence for more than two years, then a permanent green card will be issued at the time of the adjustment of status.

 

If the marriage terminates by divorce before the adjustment of status is granted, you will not be eligible for permanent resident status through this relationship and if representation is needed Landry & Azevedo Attorneys At Law are expert in family law matters and can sure advice you and represent you well.

 

My husband was abusive when we were married.  I am here illegally.  Do I have any immigration options?

You may petition on your own to the U.S. as an abused spouse of a U.S. citizen and may obtain permanent residence if: 1) you are married to or was divorced from a U.S. citizen within the past two years; 2) you are a person of good moral character; 3) you has resided with the U.S. citizen spouse; 4) the marriage was entered into in good faith; and 5) you was battered or was the subject of extreme cruelty. You are eligible to self-petition even if you are not legally married to the U.S. citizen on the day the petition was filed as long as the divorce took place during the two-year period immediately preceding the filing of the self-petition. It must also be shown that the divorce was connected to the battery or extreme mental cruelty. However, the divorce judgment need not specifically state that the divorce was caused by domestic violence.

My son is a green card holder in the United States for 2 years now. How can he get his wife into the U.S.?

 

Permanent residents may file a green card petition for a spouse under the same guidelines as a U.S. citizen spouse. The difference is that there is a wait for a visa number based on the preference and country of origin. However, if you naturalize and become a U.S. citizen, then your spouse may apply immediately for permanent residence.

 

In order to obtain a green card for your spouse where she is currently in a foreign country, you may begin the process by submitting an immigrant petition to USCIS from within the United States. In this case, you need to file a petition and request that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to notify a U.S. Consulate in the countries where your spouse lives. Once USCIS approves the initial petition, the application package moves to the U.S. State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) where each party to the application (here your spouse) will be responsible for completing individual tasks. After the necessary forms are completed, your spouse goes to the U.S. Consulate overseas to apply for an immigrant visa and have an interview. On the day that they enter the United States on an immigrant visa, they become a U.S. permanent resident.

Can I apply for a visa for my wife and kids if I am a convicted felon?

 

Your spouse and children may visit you in the U.S. with visitor’s visa.

 

However, you may not file a green card petition for your family unless you are a legal permanent resident of the U.S. The felony offense could make you removable, in which case USCIS might start immigration court proceedings against you and eventually send you away.

 

If you are a U.S. citizen, U.S. citizenship cannot be taken away and you may file a permanent resident petition for your spouse and minor children as immediate relatives. You may also file a petition for your children who are over 21 years old as the first preference category and children who are married as the third preference category.

I am a U.S. citizen.  How do I petition to obtain green cards for my family members living abroad?

 

In order to obtain a Green Card for your spouse and children where they are currently in a foreign country, you may begin the process by submitting an immigrant petition to USCIS from within the United States. In this case, the U.S. citizen needs to file a petition for alien relative and request that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to notify a U.S. Consulate in the countries where your spouse and children live. Once USCIS approves the initial petition, the application package moves to the U.S. State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) where each party to the application (here your spouse and children) will be responsible for completing individual tasks. After the necessary forms are completed, your spouse and children go to the U.S. Consulate overseas to apply for an immigrant visa and have an interview. On the day that they enter the United States on an immigrant visa, they become a U.S. permanent resident.

However, in order for you to complete the adjustment of status case, you should ensure that an intending immigrant has adequate financial support and is not likely to become a public charge, or financial drain on the government. This is an area that frequently causes a delay or denial of an adjustment application. It has been determined that an income of 125% over the poverty line is sufficient to adjust status. If you do not have sufficient income, you may use a joint sponsor.

 

Can my fiance adjust status without leaving the country?  Should we get married first?

 

Assuming that you are a U.S. citizen, if getting married, you may file a petition to obtain permanent residency for your spouse as an immediate relative. She does not have to go back to her home country to get her immigrant visa because it is not necessary for a U.S. citizen's spouse to maintain legal visa status in the U.S. The most important supporting documents are to establish that the marriage is bona fide-that is, it was entered into for love and affection rather than for a green card. Since your spouse is already in the U.S. and eligible to adjust in the U.S., you may file the alien relative petition with a local USCIS office along with the adjustment of status application. At the time of the AOS the marriage was less than two years old, then your wife becomes a conditional resident. It would take approximately 4-8 months. If she wants to work as soon as possible, she must also file an application for work authorization.

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