Can I Help My Family Member Become a Legal Resident?
Working through the process in order to unite your family
As the world has gotten smaller, families are more often scattered across different countries. International borders make it difficult for family members to be with each other. Although one of the goals of the immigration laws of the United States is to promote family unity, the U.S. immigration process is complex and cumbersome. This can make it difficult for your loved ones to obtain citizenship or permanent legal residency status and live near one another.
Both United States citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents may petition for certain relatives to live in the United States permanently. The process is significantly less cumbersome for “immediate relatives” of U.S. citizens. These include spouses, unmarried children under 21 years of age (including children and orphans adopted abroad), and the parents of citizens who are at least 21 years of age. Immediate Relatives have special immigration priority and do not have to wait in line for a visa, although there are still certain requirements that need to be met.
On the other hand, there are limited numbers of visas available for relatives of Lawful Permanent Residents and for relatives of citizens that do not fit the Immediate Relative criteria. The available visas are allotted per country of origin and further divided according to the familial relationship between the US citizen or lawful resident sponsor and the foreign-born beneficiary. Under this “Preference” system, it can take years (currently anywhere from two years to over twenty) for these individuals’ “Priority Dates” to become “current” so they may finally obtain their visas.
Given the complexities of the preference system, and the long backlogs associated with many visa categories, it is very important to get the appropriate paperwork filed as soon as possible so that the individual can establish a “Priority Date” and secure their place in the appropriate queue. Even more critical, they need accurate, up-to-date and reliable legal counsel to ensure the paperwork is done correctly and ends up in the right line.
The Phoenix immigration attorneys at Gunderson, Denton & Peterson, PC have many years experience successfully assisting individuals through the entire visa application process. To help a relative obtain a visa, there are various requirements that need to be met and forms that have to be completed. An attorney from the firm can meet with you to discuss your unique circumstances and find the most appropriate solution to your immigration needs.
Written By Brent Gunderson
1930 N. Arboleda, Suite 201
Mesa, Arizona 85213
40 N. Central Avenue, Suite 1400-1532
Phoenix, AZ 85004
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