Immigration of Immediate Relatives of US Citizens
The immigration lawyers at Saltrese Faville DeSeguin llc, an immigration law firm in Denver, Colorado, are experienced in preparing and filing family petitions for family based immigration benefits. Our knowledgeable immigration attorneys can advise noncitizens on their eligibility for adjustment of status or consular processing. Our Denver immigration lawyers also have a record of success in litigating waivers in immigration courts and with the USCIS for consular processing.
United States citizens may submit applications for an "immediate relative" to immigrate to the United States. The law defines "immediate relatives" as
- a spouse
- a child under 21 years of age
- a parent.
Although United States citizens may apply for other family members, including their siblings and adult sons and daughters, only a spouse, a child or a parent qualifies as an immediate relative. Other family members are in preference categories. While preference category relatives may have substantial waiting periods (more than ten years for brothers and sisters of United States citizens), immediate relatives may immigrate as soon as the processing takes place.
For immediate relatives who are outside the United States, the complete process may take from eight months to more than a year. The process includes filing an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. After the USCIS approves the I-130 petition, it forwards the immigration case to the National Visa Center. The NVC will contact the United States citizen petitioner or the immigration lawyer handling the case by email to begin preparing the case for your family member's appointment with the United States consulate in his or her country. When all fees have been paid to the NVC and all documents completed and filed with them, the NVC will forward the file to the appropriate United States consulate and your family member will be provided instructions for the visa appointment.
If your immediate relative is already in the United States pursuant to a lawful entry (or grandfathered under 245(i)), he or she may be eligible for adjustment of status in the United States. In this case, several USCIS application forms will be filed together at the same time in a filing referred to as a "one-step." This filing can include an application for an employment authorization card, which is usually received within 90 days from the date the applications are filed. After USCIS receives the applications, your family member will receive one (or several) appointments for fingerprints. The USCIS may then call you and your family member in for an interview. At the interview, you may be requested to provide additional documents or your immediate family member may be approved for admission as a lawful permanent resident at the interview.
The worst scenario would be that the USCIS examiner discovers that your family member is not eligible for adjustment of status because of past immigration violations, fraud, or some criminal history. Depending on the exact circumstances, your family member may be given the opportunity to apply for a waiver or he or she may be served with a Notice to Appear placing him or her in removal proceedings (formerly deportation proceedings).
If your immediate relative is already in the United States through an entry without inspection, he or she is usually not eligible to adjust status in the United States (unless grandfathered under 245(i)), but must process at the United States consulate abroad. Further, depending on how long your family member has been in the United States illegally, he or she may need to have the USCIS approve a waiver before the United States consulate will issue a visa that allows immigration into the United States.
Our Colorado immigration lawyers are experienced in preparing and filing family petitions and can help you avoid costly and time consuming issues. Contact our experienced Denver immigration attorneys at 303-442-8554. Our Denver immigration law office is located at 2635 17th Street in the Highlands neighborhood just west of downtown.