Reuniting Families Nationwide
If you are a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you can sponsor certain types of relatives for green cards. These visas confer lawful permanent residency and will allow your loved ones to live and work in the United States.
Our attorney is an immigrant herself and has been in your shoes. The family-based immigration sponsorship process can be frustratingly complex, but our experienced team at The Law Office of Yovanna Vargas is here to help. Our Dallas family-based immigration lawyer will guide you every step of the way and give your case the sophisticated attention it deserves. We know how to effectively navigate these matters and will work to secure the green cards your loved ones need to live their American Dreams.
Who Is Eligible for Family-Based Immigration?
Only certain types of family members can be sponsored for green cards. As a lawful permanent resident, you can only sponsor your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. Citizens can sponsor their spouses, siblings, parents, and children (regardless of age or marital status). You cannot sponsor your grandparents, grandchildren, cousins, uncles, aunts, or other types of more distant relatives.
Family members that can be sponsored for green cards are divided into two categories. “Immediate relatives” include spouses, parents, and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of U.S. citizens. All other relatives, including the spouses and children of lawful permanent residents, are considered “family preference relatives.”
Immediate relatives receive priority in family-based immigration. Because there is no annual limit to how many visas can be issued to immediate relatives, beneficiaries in this category will not have to wait for green cards to become available once their petitions are approved.
Only a certain number of visas are available each year to family preference relatives. Your loved one will need to wait for a visa number to become available, and they may experience an extremely long wait. Your loved one’s relationship to you and their country of origin can influence the extent of this wait. Our Dallas family-based immigration attorney can review your circumstances and help you understand what to expect.
When you are ready to sponsor a loved one for a green card, you will need to submit the appropriate application to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The documentation included in your request will establish that a qualifying family relationship exists under the immediate relative or family preference relative category.
USCIS will review your application and confirm the existence of a family relationship. It can often take up to 12 months for USCIS to approve a family sponsorship petition. If your family member is an immediate relative, they can proceed to the next step as soon as USCIS approves your request. If your loved one is a family preference relative, they must wait until a visa is available before moving forward.
With USCIS approval, your loved one will need to apply for their green card through an adjustment of status or consular processing. If they are already in the United States on another visa, they can apply to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident. If they are located abroad, they will go through their home country’s U.S. embassy or consular office to complete consular processing. We can assist you at each stage and help you and your loved one complete all applicable paperwork.
Once your family member completes consular processing or secures an adjustment of status, they will receive their green card and become a lawful permanent resident. They will be allowed to enter the United States, live anywhere in the country, and work almost any type of job. Your loved one may be able to naturalize and become a permanent citizen after they live in the U.S. for several years as a lawful permanent resident and meet other eligibility requirements.
Removing Conditions from a Marriage Green Card
If you sponsor your spouse and they receive their visa before you have been married for at least 2 years, they will receive a “conditional” green card. A conditional green card is valid for only 2 years, and you and your spouse must take steps to “remove conditions” before it expires.
To remove conditions, you must submit a request to USCIS in the 90-day window before your spouse’s conditional green card is set to expire. USCIS remains wary of marriage fraud, so you will need to include additional documentation that demonstrates the legitimacy of your evolving marriage. You may also need to participate in an additional in-person interview with a USCIS official. You will also be permitted to remain in the U.S. while your application is processed.
If USCIS approves your petition, your spouse will receive a new green card that is valid for 10 years. These non-conditional green cards can be renewed more easily. Our Dallas family-based immigration lawyer is prepared to help you remove conditions and manage any other obstacles that may arise when seeking lawful permanent residency for your loved ones.
We are proud to support families seeking to build lives in the United States. Schedule a consultation with our team at The Law Office of Yovanna Vargas by calling (214) 974-3793 or contacting us online.