New Jersey Green Card Lawyer Marc P. Feldman
One of the most common ways to get a green card or immigrant visa is through family. Whether based on a petition from a spouse, parent, sibling, or son/daughter, becoming a permanent resident is possible if you meet certain eligibility requirements. Fiancé(e) visas also allow engaged foreigners to come to the U.S. The I-751 Removal of Condition application is another major area in family immigration — one that entitles you to move from a two-year to a ten-year green card. There are many other areas in family immigration including motions to the court, appeals, and representations at immigration court proceedings.
Unlimited Family-Based Immigrants – Immediate Relative Petitions
The fastest way to get an immigrant visa or green card is through an I-130 immediate relative petition. Green cards through marriage to a U.S. Citizen fall in this area. Immediate relatives are spouses (IR-1), children (unmarried and under 21)(IR-2), or parents of U.S. Citizens (IR-5). In addition, immediate relatives are Orphans adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen (IR-3) and Orphans to be adopted in the United States by a U.S. citizen (IR-4). There are no waiting periods for priority dates to open and no visa availability delays for these applications. If the applicant is in the U.S. and s/he entered the country legally, s/he may apply for adjustment of status through an I-485 Green Card Application assuming all other eligibility requirements are met. If the applicant is abroad, s/he may apply for an immigrant visa through consular processing.
Numerically Capped Family-Based Immigrants Preference Petitions
Preference petitions are family petitions that involve members of the family other than immediate relatives. Preference petitions have longer waiting periods than immediate relative petitions. The wait depends on the specific type of petition, visa availability, whether priority dates are current, and the country of birth of the beneficiary. The age of the child, the child’s marital status and whether the spouse is a permanent resident and not a U.S. Citizen also determine which preference petition to file. The types of preference petitions are:
- First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens.
- Second Preference (F2) : Spouses, children under 21, and unmarried sons and daughters 21 years or older of permanent residents.
- Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens
- Fourth Preference F4): Brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens
The U.S. Visa Bulletin indicates which petitions at specific priority dates (hyperlink) are being processed. This chart changes every month and should give the family members involved an idea of how long the waiting times are.
Note: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.
You may also be eligible to get a green card if you:
- Are a battered child or spouse of a U.S. citizen
- Entered the United States with a K visa as the fiancé(e) (Hyperlink) or spouse of a U.S. citizen or an accompanying child
- Obtained V nonimmigrant status
- Are a widow(er) of a U.S. citizen
- Are born to a foreign diplomat in the United States
A U.S. Citizen engaged to a foreigner who is residing in another country may also petition his (her) fiancé(e) for a K-1 visa through an I-129F. The petition should prove that the couple met within the past two years, have been communicating with each other, and fully intend to marry within 90 days of entering the U.S. Plane tickets, email correspondence, international phone call records, and recent pictures of the couple at the foreigner’s country are always suggested for a well-prepared petition. The petition is filed in the U.S. and once approved, the beneficiary fills out the DS-156 forms, takes a medical exam, and goes to an interview at the U.S. Embassy abroad. Once the fiancé(e) arrives in the U.S. on the K-1, s/he must get married in 90 days to the petitioner.
In order to confer immigration benefits on an adopted child, the adoption must occur before the child reaches 16 years of age. Further, the adopting parent must have two years of legal and physical custody of the child prior to submitting the petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). (There is an exception in the case of siblings that allows for adoption up to the age of 18: when one child is under 16 at the time of the adoption, that child’s sibling can be up to 18 years old at the time of adoption and still continue to qualify for status as a child.)
I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
A person who obtains a green card based on marriage, in which the application was filed within two years of the marriage, gets a two-year conditional green card. Before the two-year green card expires, an I-751 should be filed to remove the conditions on the green card. S/he will then get a ten-year green card. It is important to document evidence of the marriage from the time the foreigner obtained the two-year green card. If the marriage ended up on divorce before the two years are up, the person can waive the joint-filing requirement and show that the marriage is in good faith. Other avenues for filing on your own are also available. If the Immigration Service is satisfied with the application as filed, the ten-year green card will be sent without even conducting an interview.
Summary of Legal Services
My office will review every aspect of your case and prepare all the necessary application documents. You will be informed of the expected time frame of each step. I will conduct a mock interview for you in preparation of the green card, fiancé(e), US Embassy, or I-751 interview about a week before the interview. An attorney will also accompany you during the interview, regardless of where it is conducted in the U.S.
Note that some areas of family immigration involve representation in Immigration Courts, the filing of written Motions, appeals with the Administrative Appeals Office or the Board of Immigration Appeals. The Law Office of Marc P. Feldman also offers services in these areas.
Below are all possible services our office provides in the area of Family Immigration:
- I-130 Petition for Alien Relative – Marriage, Parent, Child, Sibling
- I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
- I-765 Application for Work Authorization Based on Pending I-485
- I-131 Advance Parole Application Based on Pending I-485
- I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
- Joint Motion to Reopen for Aliens with a Final Order
- Sua Sponte Motion to Reopen for Aliens with a Final Order
- Arriving Alien I-130 and I-485 with USCIS with Bona Fide Marriage Exemption Letter
- I-485 Adjustment of Status with the Immigration Court
- Motion to Terminate Removal Proceedings for USCIS Adjudication of I-485
- Motion to Remand Proceedings to Apply for I-485 Adjustment of Status
- I-601 Hardship Waiver
- K-1 / K-2 Fiancé(e) Visa for Intending Spouses of U.S. Citizens and Their Children
- K-3 / K-4 Non-Immigrant Visa for Spouses of U.S. Citizens and Their Children
- Packet 3 and 4 Immigrant Visa Application Through Consular Processing
- I-360 Self-petitioning Battered Spouses, Parents or Children of U.S. citizens or Permanent
- I-360 Special Immigrant Juvenile
- AAO Appeals
- BIA Appeals
- Response to Notice of Intent to Deny
- Response to Requests for Evidence
- Motion to Reopen with the USCIS