Family Immigration Lawyer | Family-Based Immigration | Eatontown, NJ

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Family Immigration Lawyer in Eatontown, NJ

When you’re going through the immigration process, it’s important to know if you’ll be able to keep your family together. U.S. immigration laws provide several ways for families to stay together — whether it’s sponsoring a relative to get a green card, or applying for U.S. citizenship through a family member. Our New Jersey family immigration lawyer can review your case and help you find the best way to get legal status during your consultation. 

Immigration Attorney Andres Mejer and his legal team have helped countless of immigrants solve their immigration concerns. If you need help with family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, renewing DACA, or stopping deportation, our New Jersey law firm can help. Call us today to schedule an appointment with us!

What is family-based immigration?

Family-based immigration involves a petitioner (who is either a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident) and a named beneficiary which can be a family member such as their parents, spouse, or children. The family immigration process is a lengthy procedure that involves filing a family petition, consular processing, adjustment of status, and finally becoming a US Citizen.

If you’re looking for a way to immigrate to the US to be with your family, a family immigration petition may be the answer you’re looking for. Schedule a consultation today to speak with a trusted New Jersey immigration attorney who will help you determine the best way to realize your immigration dreams.

Who can apply for family immigration?

Family immigration is limited by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) which caps the total number of foreign nationals allowed to immigrate to the U.S. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) allocates the number of these immigrant visas available to each country. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) then determines the eligibility of family immigration petitioners for family-based visas.

Your eligibility for family-based immigration depends on which family preference category you’re applying for. Not sure which category to apply for? Schedule a consultation with us to talk to an experienced New Jersey family immigration lawyer today!

Can I get a green card through an immediate relative?

The immediate relative category is one of two family-based immigration categories. There are only a few visa types available under this category. Only U.S. Citizens are permitted to petition for beneficiaries under this category, but green card holders may petition for beneficiaries under other family immigration categories.

There are some big benefits under the immediate relative immigration category. The benefits include:

  • Special priority
  • No waiting period
  • No cap on the total number of visas available

To be eligible for a family immigration petition under the immediate relative category, you must be one of the following:

  • Spouse of a U.S. citizen
  • Unmarried child (under 21 years of age) of a U.S. citizen
  • Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen
  • Orphan to be adopted in the United States by a U.S. citizen
  • Parent of a U.S. citizen (who is at least 21 years old)

Talk to a family immigration lawyer near you to find out whether you are eligible for a green card.

Can green card holders petition for their family members?

US immigration law allows relatives of U.S. citizens and green card holders to get a green card through certain family members. If you’re considering immigrating through a family member, those who are eligible can apply through one of the four preference categories. Grandparents, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, cousins, and in-laws cannot be directly petitioned.

First preference (F1)

For those who are at least 21 years old and are the unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.

Second preference (F2A & F2B)

For green card holders’ spouses (F2A) and unmarried children. Children who are under 21 years old can apply under F2A, while those over 21 should apply for F2B.

Third preference (F3)

For married children of U.S. citizens.

First preference (F1)

For siblings of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old.

The total number of immigrants allowed to immigrate to the U.S. under the family preference category is limited each year. Many more people petition under this category than there are visas available.

This causes a huge backlog of pending petitions for many countries, creating a long wait for immigrants before they may legally enter the United States. Family immigrants from counties like Mexico and the Philippines may have to wait up to 20 years before receiving their green card.

If you want to avoid delays in your immigration application, talk to our seasoned family immigration lawyer to get help preparing your family-based immigration petition.

Can I file a family-based petition on my own?

The paperwork involved with a family immigration petition is daunting. Trying to prepare your family-based immigration petition yourself is possible, but you should expect multiple delays and denials before your petition is approved. Working with an experienced, reputable family immigration lawyer is the best way to ensure your family immigration petition is done right and is approved as fast as possible. You should never work with a disreputable or unlicensed person claiming to be able to help you with your family petition.

Why do I need a family immigration lawyer?

At Andres Mejer Law, we frequently have clients come in who tried to save a little money by going to a New Jersey family immigration lawyer, travel agent, or notario before coming to us. They soon find out that they could have spent less money and gotten a better result by coming to us in the first place. Don’t fall victim to a scammer, contact Andres Mejer Law today.

How do I apply for family-based immigration?

Find a qualifying relative to petition for you.

A family-based immigration petition starts with the “petitioner” who must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder). The petitioner must petition for and agree to sponsor their family member. The petitioning family member also needs to meet certain other qualifications, such as a minimum income level.

If you are eligible, the petitioner needs to fill out Form I-130 or Petition for Alien Relative and file it to the USCIS. A trusted family immigration lawyer in New Jersey can help you ensure that you have all the documents you need for your petition.

Fill out the appropriate form for your immigration petition.

The primary form used in the family immigration process is Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. There are a number of other forms and attachments that go along with the I-130 form that are required to prove the petitioner’s ability and eligibility to sponsor their family member in addition to establishing the required family relationship. Typically, the family-based immigration petition is initiated in the United States by a U.S. Citizen or a qualified legal permanent resident. The Form I-130 is the first step in requesting a visa number and eventually a green card for your family member.

Keep in mind that this is but one leg of your journey through the process. While it sounds easy enough here, the journey is fraught with potential problems, pitfalls, and roadblocks that can slowly and painfully lead you to a delay or denial of your I-130 family-based immigration petition.

In the case of a U.S. Citizen sponsoring their future husband or wife, the process is initiated by filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé. If approved, your spouse would receive a K-1 fiancé visa that will permit them to travel to the United States to get married.

File your Form I-130 or Form I-129F to USCIS.

Assuming that Form I-130 was completed correctly and filed at the correct processing center, the USCIS will send you a confirmation of receipt of the form in about 3 weeks. The confirmation is sent using Form I-797C, Notice of Action. This notice does mean that your petition was approved, only that the USCIS received it.

How do I know if my petition was rejected or not?

If the Form I-130 petition is rejected, the USCIS will send you the same Notice of Action form as above, but it will state that the I-130 form was rejected, or it may request additional evidence.

What can I do if my petition is denied?

Many Form I-130 petitions that are prepared by non-attorneys are rejected because it was filled out incorrectly or it did not have the many other required documents with it. Sometimes the rejection will come with very little explanation as to why it was rejected.

If you filed the form yourself, you must now figure determine the problem and fix it yourself. You would be far better off seeking the advice of an experienced New Jersery family based immigration attorney because now you are going to experience a significant delay in processing your Form I-130.

Get your family-based immigrant visa

When the day comes, and your Form I-130 petition is granted, if you are in a family preference category, it doesn’t mean you can travel to the United States legally. In fact, receiving notice that your I-130 petition has been approved simply means that you have a place in line, but your visa number is not available yet.

Your approval date becomes your “priority date”, which is how the U.S. State Department tracks the processing and issuance of visa numbers. The U.S. Department of State publishes the current priority date for each country and family preference category every month. When your priority date appears on their list (become current), then you may apply for your green card. In most cases, you can expect a wait from several months to several years before your priority date becomes current.

Apply for a family-based green card

Green cards are issued to petitioners based on:

  • the visa category;
  • the number of visa numbers available for their home country, and
  • a first-come, first served basis.

If you’re applying for a green card, our New Jersey green card lawyer can provide assistance in preparing your green card immigration petition.

Go through Consular Processing

If the family member is outside of the United States, they would need to go to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. There, they will need to complete the process for a family-based green card application and receive their visa stamp before being able to enter the U.S.

File for Adjustment of Status

If your family member is already in the United States legally, they may apply for an Adjustment of Status. Usually, when this applies, the family member entered the U.S. legally on a nonimmigrant visa such as a student visa or fiancé visa. Adjustment of status is the process that a nonimmigrant uses to change status to a legal permanent resident while in the U.S., but again, it requires that they enter the country lawfully in the first place and it is only available to a limited number of visa types. If your family member does not qualify to adjust their status in the U.S., they must leave the country and apply for a green card at the consulate in their home country.

Apply for U.S. Citizenship

After you have your green card, the next step is to become a United States Citizen. Becoming a citizen gives you a number of rights and privileges that you do not get as a legal permanent resident. Among those is the right to vote. Another benefit to many immigrants is, that as a U.S. Citizen, you can petition for immediate family members to immigrate to the United States without being subject to family-based preference categories.

The Visa Bulletin

Green cards are issued to petitioners based on the visa category, the number of visa numbers available for their home country, and a first-come, first-served basis. Here we want to emphasize the importance of properly completing your Form I-130 petition and related documents. Rejection may mean a return to the back of the line.

When the day comes, and your Form I-130 petition is granted, if you are in a family preference category, it doesn’t mean you can travel to the United States legally. In fact, receiving notice that your I-130 petition has been approved simply means that you have a place in line, but your visa number is not available yet.

Your approval date becomes your “priority date”, which is how the U.S. State Department tracks the processing and issuance of visa numbers. The U.S. Department of State publishes the current priority date for each country and family preference category every month. When your priority date appears on their list (become current), then you may apply for your green card. In most cases, you can expect a wait from several months to several years before your priority date becomes current.

Do You Need A Family-Based Immigration Attorney?

Are you planning to file a Form I-130 petition in the near future? If yes, give us a call and schedule a consultation with our New Jersey family immigration lawyer. We can evaluate your situation and help you to formulate an immigration plan that could reunite you with your family in the shortest possible amount of time.

Don’t do it alone. We are here to help.

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¿Tiene usted padres, conyuge o hijos mayores de 21 anos,Que ha estado o esta en las fuerzas armadas Americanas?*

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