At Garza & Associates, we are committed to providing quality services to ensure family unity and prevent family separation. We assist U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents to petition for their families and apply for permanent residency.
You can become a lawful permanent resident through a family-based petition if you have a relative who is a citizen of the United States or a relative who is a lawful permanent resident in the United States. We can assist you with every step of the multi-step process to become a legal permanent resident.
Who Qualifies to File a Family-Based Immigrant Petition?
U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR’s) can both file petitions for certain family members, depending on whether the petitioner is a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident. The U.S. Citizen or LPR is known as the “Petitioner” and the relative is known as the “Beneficiary.”
U.S. citizens can file a family-based petition for their:
- husband or wife,
- brothers and sisters,
- and children. (U.S. Citizens can file for their married or unmarried children of any age).
Lawful permanent residents can only file family-based petitions for their:
- husband or wife, and
- unmarried children.
LPR’s can file for (their children of any age, as long as the son or daughter is unmarried).
Our experienced legal team is here to guide you through the appropriate visa categories that will allow your family member to become a permanent resident of the United States. Once an immigrant family petition has been filed and approved, what follows next depends on whether your family member is considered an “immediate relative” or a “family-based preference immigrant.”
Immediate Relative Petitions
“Immediate relatives” are:
- Husband or wife of U.S. citizens,
- Minor unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of U.S. citizens,
- Parents of U.S. citizens, provided the citizen petitioner is at least 21 years of age, and
- Spouses and children of deceased U.S. citizens who have not remarried.
For these beneficiaries, an immigrant visa is immediately available. The only wait time involved is the time USCIS takes to process the petition.
LPR Petitions & Family Based Preference Categories
“Family-based preference immigrants” are other classes of relatives who are not “immediate relatives.”
The family preference categories are:
- First Preference:Unmarried sons or daughters of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older
- Second Preference (2A):Spouses or children of Lawful Permanent Residents, or
- (2B):Unmarried sons or daughters of Lawful Permanent Residents
- Third Preference:Married sons or daughters of U.S. citizens
- Fourth Preference:Brothers or sisters of U.S. citizens, if such citizens are at least 21 years of age
Family based preference immigrants are subject to a quota of specific number of immigrant visas allotted to each of the family preference categories. All preference immigrants are assigned a priority date. The “priority date” is the date when the immigrant petition on behalf of the relative was filed. The Visa Bulletin, which is published by the U.S. Department of State, provides a monthly update of what priority dates are being processed and explains how immigrant visas are allotted.
When the beneficiary’s priority date is earlier than the cut-off date as it appears in the Visa Bulletin that means an immigrant visa is now available to the beneficiary. A copy of the monthly Visa Bulletin is available at the Department of State website (link: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin.html).
Family immigration can be a complex process. Don’t be a victim of family separation. Let our experienced legal team at Garza & Associates analyze your family’s individual circumstances and set you on the right path to becoming a permanent resident.
PROVISIONAL WAIVER (I-601A)
If you entered the United States without inspection and you are the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, you must eventually depart the United States and apply for your permanent residence abroad through Consular processing, unless you qualify for a unique exception for adjustment of status.
Because you are residing in the United States unlawfully, you may apply for the Provisional Waiver (I-601A) process before leaving the country to Consular process. This means that you may await approval of the waiver while you remain in the United States. While you still must eventually depart the United States to obtain the immigrant visa through Consular process, if you are approved for the provisional waiver, you will depart the country with the security that you will be granted your visa promptly.
To be approved for a provisional waiver, the applicant must show that their U.S. citizen or LPR spouse or parent will suffer extreme hardship if the applicant is not allowed to re-enter the United States. For USCIS to approve your waiver, you must explain your family dynamics and personal circumstances and how the denial of your I-601A waiver would cause your qualifying relatives extreme hardship. Because each family is different, our lawyers will work closely with you and your family to attempt to explain to USCIS your unique circumstances that meet the standard of extreme hardship.
Let us assist you in keeping your family together. Contact our Texas law firm for more information. We can provide accessible payment arrangements for your convenience.
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