Family-Based Immigration Lawyer

Interested in bringing your family member to the United States? Navigating family-based immigration can be challenging, but you don’t have to face it alone. Our experienced family-based immigration lawyers will provide you with the support, guidance, and legal representation you need throughout your loved one’s journey.

Whether you are seeking to bring your spouse, child, parent, or sibling to the United States, our legal team can help. We understand the impact that immigration decisions can have on your future. Our family immigration attorneys will help you decide on the best path for your circumstances, so you can reunite with your loved ones.

With our deep knowledge of immigration law and decades of experience in handling family-based immigration cases, we are equipped to handle even the most challenging situations.

Immigration lawyers Vivian Khalaf and Omar Abuzir
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    family visa application

    What Relatives Are Eligible for Family-Based Immigration?

    The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recognizes certain family relationships for immigration purposes. Generally, immediate relatives such as spouses, parents, and unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens are given the highest priority. USCIS also offers preference categories for other family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, including married children, siblings, and adult children. Each category has specific requirements and limitations. Our experienced family-based immigration lawyers can assess your situation and your goals, determine eligibility, and guide you through the legal process, so your family members can live and work in the United States.

    How to Apply for a Family-Based Green Card

    To ensure a smooth and successful application process, it is crucial to understand the necessary steps involved in applying for a family-based green card. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect.

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    Determine Eligibility

    The first step in obtaining a family-based green card is to establish your eligibility to sponsor your family member, and your loved one’s eligibility for a green card based on that person’s relationship to you as a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. 


    File an Immigrant Petition

    As the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you must file an immigrant petition (Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative). This form establishes the family relationship within the preference categories, and initiates the green card application process.


    Wait for Approval

    USCIS will review the petition to ensure all criteria are met. Upon approval, the case will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. Depending on the foreign national’s preference category, he or she may need to wait for a visa to become available. 


    Complete the Necessary Forms and Submit Documentation

    The NVC will provide instructions on completing the required forms and gathering supporting documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and financial information. If your family member resides in the U.S., he or she will need to apply for Adjustment of Status. Those living abroad will be required to go through consular processing.


    Attend the Visa Interview

    If your loved one lives outside the United States, he or she will attend a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in that country. During the interview, your loved one will need to answer questions about his or her background and relationship with the petitioner.


    Receive the Green Card

    If the application is approved, an immigrant visa will be issued. Your loved one will receive a green card granting lawful permanent resident status in the United States after the visa is issued, and after the applicant enters the United States. If your loved one is an adjustment of status applicant, the green card will be received shortly after the interview, as long as the I-485 is approved. 

    At Khalaf & Abuzir, our legal team will guide you through each step towards applying for a family-based green card and bringing your family member to the United States.

    Family-Based Green Card Sponsorship Guidelines

    As a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident who is 21 years of age or older, you will need to meet various requirements to sponsor your loved one for a family-based green card. For starters, you must have a qualifying family relationship with the foreign national. Eligible relationships include spouses, parents, children (unmarried and under 21), and siblings (for U.S. citizens only). 

    Additionally, you must demonstrate your ability to financially support your family member to ensure the immigrant will not become a public burden. This is accomplished by filing an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864). To qualify, your income must be at least 125% of Federal Poverty Guidelines for your household size. 

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    Immigration lawyer Omar Abuzir
    Omar A. Abuzir
    Immigration Lawyer
    Chicago immigration lawyer Vivian Khalaf
    Vivian Khalaf
    Immigration Lawyer

    Client Testimonials

    5 stars
    “Working with the lawyers at ImmigrationJD was an experience that was unexpected. It was a breeze obtaining my permanent residency and the attorney was with me every step of the way. The process was exactly as it was explained to me at the start and there were no surprises! I highly recommend this law firm”
    ~Juma Amin
    5 stars
    “It was very difficult for me to be separated from my husband while he was overseas waiting for the processing of his immigration papers at the U.S. embassy. My attorney made the process move quicker than I anticipated by being on top of it and making sure the documents were completed properly and efficiently. I was never kept in the dark and updated frequently. We will be back to ImmigrationJD as soon as my husband is ready to file for citizenship”.

    How Long Does it Take to Get a Family-Based Green Card in the United States?

    Various factors may impact the processing time for a family-based green card in the United States. These include, but are not limited to, the verification of the foreign national’s familial relationship to the sponsor, the category of the family-based visa, the visa bulletin priority dates, and the USCIS backlog. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, such as spouses and minor children, generally have significantly shorter processing times because visas are unlimited and readily available. Preference category visas for other family members, such as siblings or adult children, usually have longer processing times due to annual quotas. 

    FAQs About Family-Based Immigration in the United States

    What Are the Two Types of Family Based Immigrant Visas?

    The two types of family-based immigrant visas in the United States are immediate relative visas and family preference visas. Immediate relative visas are available to the spouses, parents, and unmarried children (under 21) of U.S. citizens. An unlimited number of immediate relative visas are available. Family preference visas, on the other hand, are intended for other relatives of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. These include unmarried adult children, married children, siblings, and spouses or unmarried children of lawful permanent residents. A limited number of family preference visas are available. As a result, many people face substantial wait times.

    What Is a Family-Based Immigration Petition?

    A family-based immigration petition (Form I-130) is a formal request submitted to USCIS to sponsor a foreign family member for an immigrant visa or green card. The U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident files the petition on behalf of their eligible family member. The petition establishes the familial relationship and serves as the initial step in obtaining lawful permanent residency for the foreign national. The petitioner and the foreign national family member will need to complete various steps. These include, but are not limited to, submitting the supporting documents, paying fees, and meeting eligibility criteria outlined by USCIS.

    How Much Does it Cost to Sponsor an Immigrant?

    For family-based immigration petitions, the cost to sponsor an immigrant can vary significantly. You’ll need to plan for the USCIS filing fee for Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), which is currently $535. Additional fees may also be required, such as the USCIS filing fee for Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) and the immigrant visa application fee. These fees can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. The most updated fee information for family-based visas can be found on the USCIS website.