At Boyer Law Firm, P.L, with offices in Miami, Orlando, and Jacksonville, we assist those pursuing family sponsored immigration to the United States, adjust their immigration status in the U.S. through marriage, or other qualifying close family ties such as parents, siblings, or child. Much like any other area in immigration law, family immigration law involves complex regulations and procedures. Assistance from an immigration expert is invaluable and can be key for the success of your application. Our attorneys are experienced in a wide variety of immigration and related issues.
Family Sponsored Immigration
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Immigration to the United States Through A Family Member
US Citizens, green card holders, and certain refugees may be eligible to petition for family sponsored immigration for their relatives. A U.S. citizen, over the age of 21, can petition for a green card without the need to wait for a “priority date,” on behalf of a spouse, unmarried child under the age of 21, or parent. A U.S. citizen, over the age of 21, can petition for a green card on behalf of an unmarried child over the age of 21, a married child of any age, or a sibling, however receipt of the green card will be dependent upon their “priority date” becoming current. After application for qualifying family status, the US Department of State will notify you once your priority date is reached, at which point you can continue the process.
A green card holder is eligible to sponsor a spouse or unmarried child of any age when their priority date becomes eligible.
Most family-based applications are a multi-step process beginning with a petition to establish a qualifying relationship. On the qualify relationship is established, and depending upon priority, they will be eligible to apply for residency. On the other hand, some applicants are permitted to establish the qualifying relationship and adjust their status at the same time called “concurrent adjustment of status.”
As mentioned several times above, many applications are dependent upon their “priority date” becoming eligible. The family relationship will determine the priority on the waiting list for the limited number of visas available in a given year. The number of visas available are limited and subject to change each year.
Preference for visa applicants are as follows:
- First Preference: US Citizens- Immediate family members, including spouses, unmarried children under 21, parents of citizens over 21, and widows/widowers of U.S. Citizens (if filed timely). Those meeting this classification do not have to wait for an available visa as visa’s for this classification is unlimited.
- Second Preference: Unmarried adult children (over the age of 21) of U.S. citizens are given first preference in the visa waiting list.
- Third Preference: Spouses of green card holders and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age) of permanent residentsFourth Preference: Married children of any age of U.S. citizens
- Fifth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens
The priority date is determined from the date your petition for qualifying status is properly filed with the USCIS and the waiting period for an available visa is dependent upon the demand and supply of visas, the country of citizenship from which you are applying, and the Preference category as shown above.
If you or a family member is in the United States military, special conditions may apply.
K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa
United States Citizens may also sponsor a fiancés for entry into the United States. This is a special type of visa as it permits entry for a temporary period of time, subject to legal marriage and application for permanent residency within 90 days of entry. Additionally, there is an in-person relationship requirement to qualify as an eligible fiancé. Children under the age of 21, of the fiancé visa holder are also eligible to enter the U.S. with the visa holder.
Widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen
A widow(er) may be classified as an immediate relative, much like a spouse, and may be eligible to continue the immigrant visa process if they:
- Were married to a U.S. citizen at the time he/she passed away;
- Have an approved or pending Form I-130 or have filed Form I-360 within 2 years of the spouse’s death;
- Are not remarried;
- Were not divorced or legally separated from the spouse at the time he or she died;
- Are able to prove that the marriage was entered in good faith and not solely to obtain an immigration benefit; and
- Are otherwise admissible to the United States.
Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Since its implementation by then-President Obama on June 15, 2012 under the then President Trump administration, there have been numerous changes regarding DACA. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the DACA program on June 18, 2020 and on December 7, 2020, a U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York ruled that the changes under the Trump administration by Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf were not permissible, thus reinstating DACA to its original status. As such, qualifying undocumented immigrant youths can apply for permission to remain in the U.S. for up to two years and receive work authorization.
Adjustment Of Status
Adjustment of Status is a mechanism wherein those individuals currently residing lawfully in the United States may apply for lawful permanent residence (green card) without returning to their original/home country. This process allows you the option to file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) at the same time you file Form I-130 for the qualify relationship status.
Whenever you are applying to obtain a visa while outside the United States, you apply through Consular processing. Consular processing is the process when USCIS works with the U.S. Department of State to issue a visa based on the approval of I-130 and preference for issuance of the visa.
Once a visa is available, you may then travel and will officially become a permanent resident when admitted at a U.S. port of entry. Once notified by the Department of State that you are eligible to apply, you must apply within one year or your petition will be terminated.
Conditional Permanent Residents
There are a few instances where you are not granted permanent status outright, but rather are provided a conditional approval. If your permanent status was based on a marriage of less than two years, you will be given a conditional permanent residency to prove that the marriage was not for immigration purposes.
Within the 90 day period prior to your two year conditional residency card expiring, you must properly file Form I-751. If this form is not filed properly or in a timely manner, the conditional resident status will automatically be terminated, and removal proceedings may be initiated against you.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The VAWA was created to allow special routes for certain abused non-citizens to obtained immigration status. To qualify, the non-citizen must be the spouse, or child, of an abusive U.S. Citizen or permanent resident. If eligible, the applicant may file a self-petitioning process without the knowledge or involvement of the abuser. Please note, however, that extensive supporting documents showing evidence of abuse and proof of the relationship to the abuser is required. Despite requiring extensive documentation, police reports are not a requirement and will not preclude an application. Furthermore, both men and women are eligible to file under VAWA and applicants are eligible for work authorization upon approval of their petition.
Eligibility requirements for VAWA applications:
- You are currently married to a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident (green card holder), and the marriage is still valid or was terminated less than two years prior to the petition;
- You were physically abused and/or subjected to extreme cruelty by the spouse;
- The abuse occurred within the United States, and the victim lived with the abuser;
- The marriage was entered in good faith, not solely for immigration benefits; and
- You have good moral character.
Experienced Immigration Lawyers Committed to Your Family’s Needs
Let the attorneys at Boyer Law Firm, P.L. assist you to reunite your family, acquire a green card, or obtain citizenship.
Call our Florida Family Immigration Lawyers today at (904) 236-5317 for a consultation.
The various languages spoken by our professional and support staff include English, French, Spanish, Croatian, and Turkish.
Offices located in Miami, Orlando, and Jacksonville.