Family Based Immigration
One of the most common ways that a person can legalize their status in the United States is through their family. If you have a child over the age of 21 who is a U.S. citizen, a spouse who is a U.S. citizen or resident, a parent who is a U.S. citizen or resident or a U.S. citizen sibling, then you can be petitioned by your family member and become a lawful permanent resident in the United States. The process is started with a petition that is filed by your relative on your behalf. The petition is USCIS Form I-130. This form is filed with USCIS and will be processed anywhere from 3-12 months (typically). Once the I-130 is approved, the person will have to wait for the visa to be available. Parents of U.S. citizens and spouses of U.S. citizens don’t have to wait for a visa number as those are always immediately available.
Other categories such as resident spouses, children of citizens and residents as well as siblings will be placed in a waiting queue under their visa category. Once the visa is available, the applicant will be able to attain their residency in one of two ways, adjustment of status within the United States or through Consular Processing. Adjustment of Status is available to those who entered the United States legally, currently have Temporary Protected Status, or who have had someone petition for them prior to April 30, 2001.
The benefit of Adjustment of Status is that the applicant who is already in the U.S. can get their resident status without having to leave the United States. Consular Processing is for those that are requesting their visa to become a resident from outside of the United States. These applicants schedule an appointment with the consulate nearest to their home and the visa is processed after an interview with a consular officer. If the applicant is within the United States and they are not eligible to adjust status within the United States, then it is possible that they will need to leave the United States and seek consular processing. In doing so, they would prior to leaving need to file a I-601a waiver for unlawful presence in the United States.
This is a complicated process that if not done correctly can leave a person stranded in their home country when they leave. There are many factors that may affect how one is able to process their applications and the manner in which they can get their legal status. Immigration laws are complicated and are not completely understood by attorneys without significant experience in immigration.
The immigration attorneys of Lluis Law have been serving the Los Angeles community for over 40 years with over 55 years of experience in assisting family members to attain their lawful permanent resident status.
If you or a family member needs assistance with applying for lawful permanent residence, please call and schedule a free consultation with our immigration attorneys. (213) 687-4412