Philadelphia Family Based Immigration Lawyer
Family-based Immigration refers to applications made by United States citizens or legal permanent residents (green card holders) on behalf of their relatives. The goal of the family based petition is to either bring over a family member to the United States with legal status or to grant legal status to a family member who is already here, and may be in removal proceedings.
There are two types of petitions: petitions for immediate relatives, and petitions for other family members. The difference is that immediate relatives need not wait for a visa to become available, whereas other family members may have to wait. Sometimes this wait can be a matter of years. How long a family member must wait depends on their relationship to the petitioner.
A United States citizen can petition for immediate relatives who would not need to wait for a visa, and those relatives are: a spouse, an unmarried child of the United States citizen under 21 years of age, an orphan adopted by a United States citizen, or a parent of a United States citizen who is at least 21 years old. Again, these petitions generally take a few months to a year to process from beginning to end.
A United States citizen may also petition for a family member who is less immediate. Because these family members are considered less immediate, immigration law requires that a waiting period pass before they are eligible to petition for a green card. They include:
- Unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens (21 years of age or older) – current wait period is about 7 years;
- Spouses, children (unmarried sons and daughters under 21 years of age) of green card holders – current wait period is about two years;
- Unmarried sons and daughters of green card holders (21 years of age or older) – current wait period is about 7 years;
- Married sons and daughters of US citizens – current wait period is about 11 years;
- Brothers and sisters of adult US citizens – current wait period is about 13 years.
The process often includes extensive forms and documentation, as well as interviews with the Citizenship and Immigration Service. Because family petitions often take months or years to complete, it is critical that they are done correctly, so that delays and confusion are avoided. A Philadelphia immigration attorney can represent you before USCIS in even the most challenging of cases. We will be able to guide you through the process and offer you estimates of what you should expect as your case progresses.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.