Applying for a Family-Based Green Card? Our Portland Immigration Attorney is Here to Help
At Vanderwall Immigration, our Portland family-based green card lawyers are skilled, experienced, and results-driven advocates for our clients. As a law firm that is made up of people from immigrant families, we have a deep and passionate commitment to uniting families through immigration law. If you have any questions or concerns about a family-based green card matter, we can help. For a fully confidential consultation with a top immigration attorney, please do not hesitate to contact us today.
Family Green Cards: What You Need to Know
A “green card” is an informal term for a United States Permanent Resident Card, which grants a foreign national the right to live and work permanently in the United States. Green card holders are also referred to as lawful permanent residents (LPRs). Family green cards serve as a gateway to permanent residency in the United States for many people. Indeed, family immigration is the backbone of our country’s immigration system.
That being said, not every foreign national who is related to someone in the United States can qualify for a family-based green card. Instead, obtaining one requires sponsorship from a qualifying family member. Eligibility depends on the relationship’s category, such as immediate relative or preference category. Navigating the process involves completing and submitting various immigration forms along with the required supporting documents and records.
Notably, both U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents and U.S. Citizens can petition to help their family members themselves become lawful permanent residents and obtain a “green card.”
A U.S. citizen can petition for his or her:
- Married Children
- Unmarried Children
- Parents (if the citizen is 21 or older)
A lawful permanent resident can petition for his or her:
- Unmarried children
We Handle the Full Range of Family Immigration Matters
Family immigration is a complex and sensitive area of law that requires expert knowledge and understanding of its many intricacies. At Vanderwall Immigration, we pride ourselves on our work to unite families. As a legal team made up of professionals who come from immigrant families, we know how much this matters. Our Portland immigration lawyers are well-equipped to provide you with comprehensive legal assistance across a full range of family immigration matters. Along with other types of family-based green cards, our Portland attorneys help clients with:
- Spousal Relationship (Marriage): Our Portland immigration law team is adept at navigating the complexities of marriage-based immigration, whether you are a U.S. citizen sponsoring your foreign spouse or a permanent resident petitioning for your partner. We will guide you through the process, including preparing and filing the necessary forms, gathering documentation, and addressing any legal issues that may arise.
- Fiancé Visa (K-1 Visa): If you are a U.S. citizen engaged to marry a foreign national, we can assist you in obtaining a K-1 fiancé visa to bring your partner to the United States. Our attorneys will ensure that your application is complete and accurate, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome. We will also provide guidance on the subsequent adjustment of status process, ensuring a smooth transition to permanent residency.
- K-3 Visas and K-4 Visas: For those already married to a foreign national but awaiting the approval of an immigrant visa, a K-3 visa may be a solution. A K-4 visa is a corresponding tool for a spouse’s unmarried children under the age of 21. K-3 visas and K-4 visas allow for a family to be united while an immigration petition is still pending.
- Family Preference Immigration: Our team understands the importance of reuniting families and is experienced in handling family preference immigration cases. Whether you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, we can help you petition for your family members, such as parents, siblings, or adult children, to join you in the United States. We will guide you through the complex system of preference categories and priority dates to maximize the chances of a favorable outcome for your loved ones. It should be noted that there are statutory caps on the number of family preference visas that can be issued each year.
Understanding the Family Green Card Immigration Form: I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
The I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is a crucial form for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who wish to sponsor their family members for green cards, granting them legal permanent residency in the United States. By filing Form I-130, the petitioner establishes their relationship with the foreign relative and initiates the family-based immigration process.
Before submitting Form I-130, it’s essential to determine the eligibility of both the petitioner and the beneficiary. The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen or LPR, while the beneficiary should be an immediate relative (spouse, unmarried children under 21, or parent) or a preference relative (adult married/unmarried children, siblings, or specific employment-based categories).
After filing the I-130, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will review the application and notify the petitioner of their decision. If approved, the beneficiary may then proceed with the consular processing or adjustment of status, depending on their current location and immigration status.
Family-Based Green Cards: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who is Eligible for a Family-Based Green Card?
Eligibility for a family green card depends on the applicant’s relationship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (LPR) who is sponsoring the petition. Immediate relatives—such as spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents—of United States citizens have no numerical limit on the number of visas issued annually. Other relatives fall under the family preference categories, which have annual numerical limits.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Family-Based Green Card?
The processing time for a family green card depends on a number of factors, including things like the
applicant’s category and their country of origin. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens generally have a shorter waiting period compared to family preference categories. As a general overview, visa processing for a family green card can take several months to multiple years. Our Portland immigration lawyers work hard to make the family green card process as smooth, easy, and efficient as possible for our clients.
Can a Family-Based Green Card Holder Apply for American Citizenship?
Yes—or at least a family-based green card can, eventually, lead to a path to United States citizenship. The applicant must also meet eligibility requirements before they apply. In most cases, permanent residents must hold their Green Card for at least five years, demonstrate continuous residence in the U.S., and pass a citizenship test, which includes knowledge of U.S. history and government, as well as English language proficiency. It should be noted that the spouse of an American citizen can generally apply for citizenship after just three years of residency in the United States.
How Our Portland Immigration Lawyers Can Help With a Family-Based Green Card
While family-based immigration forms much of the foundation of the American immigration system, navigating the process can be complicated. It is normal to have tons of questions about your rights and your options. At Vanderwall Immigration, we will help you through the entire process of obtaining a green card from the petition to the financial sponsorship to the hardship waiver (if applicable) and the consular interview. We are proactive. Among other things, our Portland family-based immigration lawyers are ready to:
- Conduct a comprehensive, confidential review an evaluation of your case.
- Answer questions you have about the family immigration process.
- Gather relevant documents, records, and other information.
- Take care of the family immigration application paperwork.
- Develop a legal strategy to help you and your family overcome obstacles.
Contact Our Portland Family Green Card Attorneys Today
At Vanderwall Immigration, our Portland green card lawyers have extensive experience handling family immigration matters. If you have any questions about a family green card issue, we are more than ready to help you find the solution. Call us now or connect with us directly online for a fully confidential, no-obligation case review. With offices in Beaverton and Salem, we handle family green card matters in Portland and throughout the wider region of Oregon and Washington.