Family-Based Immigration Attorney Serving St. Charles, Missouri
In the United States, a family-based immigration petition is one of the most time-consuming and frequently tricky bureaucratic processes. Because of the many circumstances to consider, the procedure might take months or even years to complete. An immigration procedure allows family members to reunite despite their geographical separation. Working with an expert family-based immigration attorney is strongly advised as a result.
A St Charles family-based immigration attorney will give necessary support and assistance throughout the procedure, from filing the required paperwork with the United States Customs and Immigration Service to ensuring the petition is completed correctly. Working with a trusted Missouri immigration law firm may help you save money and time while avoiding unnecessary delays in your immigration procedure. To talk with one of our family-based immigration attorneys in Missouri, fill out the contact form here or give us a call.
What is Family-Based Immigration?
Legal immigration to the United States is mainly based on family reunification. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) can sponsor certain family members for a visa that allows them to live permanently in the United States, popularly known as a “green card.”
Immigration has been based on family ties since the founding of our first colonies in the 17th century. Still, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1965 explicitly established family ties as the significant method individuals use to move to America. Each year, family visas account for around 65 percent of legal immigration.
Who is Eligible for a Family Visa?
Only two types of people are eligible for family visas:
- Spouses of U.S. citizens
- Unmarried children under 21 of U.S. citizens
- Orphans adopted abroad
- Orphans to be adopted in the U.S. by U.S. citizens
- Parents of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old
Family Preference Categories
- Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, their spouses, and their children
- Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters over 21 of LPRs
- Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children
- Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years old.
Other family members, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins, cannot be sponsored for immigration by U.S. citizens or LPRs.
What Are the Requirements for Family Visas?
Application, many screenings and background checks, interviews, costs, and medical examinations occur in the United States. The sponsoring relative, who must be over the age of 18 (in certain circumstances 21) and a permanent resident of the United States, must first file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for their family member(s). They must verify the validity of their connection and fulfill the financial conditions in this petition.
A written affidavit of support from the sponsor confirming that they would be financially responsible for the application(s) is also required. Subsequently, each potential immigrant is subjected to a thorough background and security investigation, including criminal, national security, health-related, and other tests. USCIS also examines all green card applications to ensure that the immigrant will not become a public charge who will require public support.
After USCIS approves the petition, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), which instructs the applicant to fill out specific forms, provide the required documents, and pay the costs. After the NVC receives all needed documentation, the applicant is interviewed by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate officer to assess their eligibility. Before the government grants the visa, all candidates must undergo a medical examination by an approved physician and get specific immunizations.
What Are Form I-130 Required Documents?
The I-130 petition must be accompanied by supporting papers demonstrating that the sponsor is eligible to submit an I-130 and have a genuine familial relationship with the green card applicant. In most cases, the following documents are required as part of an I-130 petition:
- Proof that the sponsor is a U.S. citizen or green card holder
- Proof that a legally valid relationship exists
- Proof that the relationship is not fraudulent
- Proof of name changes for the sponsor or the person seeking a green card
- Proof of nationality of the person seeking a green card
A copy of the sponsor’s U.S. birth certificate to verify that they are a U.S. citizen is one of the supporting papers necessary for a family-based green card. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of these papers. The good news is that you may begin working on your application right now while gathering your supporting documentation. To get started, our St. Charles family immigration attorneys can help.
What Are the Alternative Documents?
If a needed document is not accessible, you must provide alternative papers (formally referred to as “secondary evidence”) for USCIS to consider your I-130 petition.
If your birth certificate isn’t available, for example, you can get a declaration from the issuing government body in your native country stating that your birth certificate isn’t available there. Otherwise, you’ll need to get other paperwork (such as a baptismal certificate or school records) or written declarations from relatives who can attest to the circumstances of your birth.
How Long Does it Take to Get Visas for Eligible Family Members?
Depending on the applicant’s connection with their sponsor, years or even decades may pass. While immediate relatives (spouses and minor children) usually get their green cards quickly after satisfying all of the requirements of the lengthy visa procedure, other family members may have to wait years or even decades, depending on their family preference category.
There are significant backlogs in most of the family preference categories due to numerical and per-country constraints, as well as considerable demand. More than 3.9 million of the approximately 4.7 million applicants in the family preference categories were on the waiting list in 2017, with the balance being processed by USCIS. Family members from high-demand nations like China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines must wait years, if not decades, for a green card.
For example, the U.S. government was still examining cases of brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who filed petitions more than 13 years ago as of January 2018.
What to Do if Your Application is Rejected
Petitioners who submit I-130 petitions will receive a denial notice from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (Form I-797). Imagine that the petitioner considers that the petition was denied unfairly. Within a month or 30 days of receiving the notification, individuals may file an appeal with an independent government authority such as the Administrative Appeals Office. To determine how to file an appeal, you need to speak with an expert family immigration attorney.
How to Apply for Adjustment of Status in Missouri
Other beneficiaries may be required to go through this process at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. Only immigrants currently residing in the United States can apply for adjustment of status under the law.
Once Form I-130 has been approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the immigrant can begin preparing the papers and documents that will be required for the status modifications. The USCIS will contact the beneficiary or immigrant to schedule a personal immigration interview after the agency receives the paperwork and application.
How to Apply for a Green Card in Missouri
An immediate family member or beneficiary may apply for a green card once the visa petition has been approved and the chosen date is no longer out-of-date. Applicants for green cards must submit an application for permanent residence – in this case, an immigrant visa application – to be considered. You must send it to the United States Consulate in the immigrant’s home country or residence site.
Later, the National Visa Center at the U.S. Consulate will begin distributing the relevant forms to immigrants and requesting any additional paperwork required. They will assist in compiling the necessary documents and submitting them to the National Visa Center or the United States Consulate to assure the procedure’s continuation. They will accomplish this with the support of a reputable family immigration attorney.
The immigrant or beneficiary will next be given instructions on preparing for the required medical examination. They will also be required to schedule a personal interview with an immigration services representative and a consular official from the United States. In addition, depending on how an immigrant enters the country, there are various options for obtaining a green card or visa.
Talk to Our Seasoned Family Immigration Lawyers
Working with an experienced St Charles family based immigration attorney guarantees that the petition is of high quality, hence reducing the likelihood of unnecessary additional expenditures and time waste. A reputable family-based immigration attorney will take care of all of the essential stages and paperwork, allowing you to save both time and money.
Gateway Immigration Law Firm will assist you in navigating the complex process of filing a petition for family-based immigration status. According to the immigration process in the United States, attempting to do so without legal assistance may be impossible.
We at Gateway Immigration Law Firm are firm believers that repairing and maintaining family unity is of the utmost importance. Start by contacting one of our family-based immigration attorneys in Missouri to get the ball rolling on your case. Our immigration law firm will be at your side throughout the entire process.