Family-based Immigration

One of the most important rights a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen has is the ability to petition, or sponsor, a family member for permanent residence. For family members in the U.S., the process is called Adjustment of Status. To be eligible, an immigrant must have been inspected and admitted to the United States, must be in lawful immigrant status, must have a visa immediately available, must make an application and attend an interview, and must otherwise be admissible (i.e. no crimes, no fraud, etc.) or apply for a waiver.

While these are the general requirements, there are exceptions that an attorney can review with you. Alternatively, our office assists U.S. citizens and permanent residents in bringing their family members into the United States through Consular Processing for a family visa. In order to be issued a family visa, a visa petition must first be filed by the qualifying U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Once this petition is approved, the Department of State (DOS) will determine if an immigrant visa number is available. If a visa number is available, the applicant may apply for a visa at the consulate in their home country. Visa numbers are assigned according to a preference system as follows:

  • First preference — Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens (21 and over);
  • Second preference — Spouses and unmarried children of individuals with lawful permanent resident status;
  • Third preference — Married children of U.S. citizens;
  • Fourth preference — Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.

It is important to note that the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, including parents, spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old, do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number.

To enter the U.S. on a family visa, a family member must also be admissible or apply for a waiver. The attorneys at HaleyNelson & Heilbrun, LLP have extensive experience in preparing waivers, and actively seek to obtain a timely and successful outcome in every case. Because each situation is unique, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney to discuss the specifics of your family’s case.

436 14th Street, Suite 716, Oakland, CA 94612 | (510) 868.0633 | (415) 484.4005 |
Providing quality legal representation and exceptional client services to immigrants and their families.