+1 855.428.3762
contact@bzlawusa.com

Family-Based Services

Individuals can immigrate to the United States based on their family relationship with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (Green Card-holder). There are two main categories of family-based immigration: the immediate relative category and the family preference category.

Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens

Immediate Relatives are certain close relatives of U.S. citizens who have special immigration priority. They do not have to wait in line for a visa number to become available to immigrate to the United States because there are an unlimited number of visas for this particular cateogry. An immediate relative of a U.S. citizen includes the U.S. citizen’s spouse, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents (if the U.S. citizen is over the age of 21). If the immediate relative is currently lawfully present inside the United States, he or she may file the I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to become a permanent resident (get a Green Card) at the same time that the U.S. citizen files the I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Alternatively, if the U.S. petitioner already filed the I-130 petition, the immediate relative has the option of filing his or her I-485 along with a copy of the I-797, Notice of Action, showing that the petition is either pending or approved.

If the immediate relative is overseas, then the U.S. petitioner and immediate relative must follow a two-step filing process that includes processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate. This process is generally referred to as “consular processing.” In this instance, USCIS works in conjunction with the Department of State to issue an immigrant visa to the immediate relative after it has approved the U.S. petitioner's I-130 petition. The immediate relative then uses the visa to travel to the United States where he or she is admitted as a permanent resident.

Family Preference Immigrant Visas

Family Preference Immigrant Visas are allocated for specific, more distant family members of U.S. citizens and certain relatives of permanent residents. There are limited visas available, so when demand exceeds supply, there is an immigration wait. In this situation, visas are issued in chronological order based on each applicant's priority date, which is the filing date of the approved I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Immigrant visas cannot be issued until an applicant's priority date is reached, and in certain family preference categories, there may be a waiting period of several years or more. The Family Preference categories with limited visa availability are:

  • First Preference (F1): unmarried, adult children of U.S. citizens and their minor children
  • Second Preference (F2A): spouses and the unmarried, minor children of permanent residents
  • Second Preference (F2B): unmarried, adult children of permanent residents
  • Third Preference (F3): married, adult children of U.S. citizens, their spouses and minor children
  • Fourth Preference (F4): brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, their spouses and minor children

Cousins, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and in-laws are not eligible for immigrant visas.

The Department of State publishes a monthly report known as the Visa Bulletin that lists the accessible visas.  An individual can check his or her position in the immigration waiting line. If visas are readily obtainable, the bulletin chart will designate C for current. If there is a waiting line, the chart will list a cut-off date. Individuals whose priority date is on or before the cut-off date need to apply for their immigrant visa right away.

Our Services

Below is a list of just some of the services our attorneys provide to individuals who are looking for immigration solutions based on their family relationships.

Green Cards for Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens

  • Marriage and Family-Based I-130 Petitions
  • Status Issues: Change / Extension / Adjustment of Status 
  • Immigrant Visas at an Embassy / Consular Processing
  • Removal of Conditions on Residency (Form I-751)

Green Cards for Relatives of U.S. Citizens (Limited)

  • Family-Based I-130 Petitions
  • Status Issues: Change / Extension / Adjustment of Status 
  • Immigrant Visas at an Embassy / Consular Processing

Green Cards for Relatives of Permanent Residents (Limited)

  • Family-Based I-130 Petitions
  • Status Issues: Change / Extension / Adjustment of Status 
  • Immigrant Visas at an Embassy / Consular Processing

Green Cards for Victims of Abuse (VAWA) 

  • Self-Petitions for Battered Spouse, Children and Parents of U.S. Citizens
  • Self-Petitions for Battered Spouse and Children of Permanent Residents

Nonimmigrant Visas Leading to a Green Card

  • Spouses and Children of U.S. Citizens Outside the U.S. (K-3 and K-4)
  • Fiance(e) Visas for Future Spouses of U.S. Citizens (K-1)

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)