Family Based Immigration

Jun 20, 2023

family-based immigration sign on the piece of paperIn a world where borders delineate nations, immigration law shapes dreams and destinies. For those longing to live with their loved ones in the United States, understanding the complexities of family-based immigration is crucial. As attorneys in immigration law, The Towne Law Firm, P.C., your trusted immigration attorney in Albany, NY, is committed to assisting families to unite and thrive in the U.S.

What is Family-Based Immigration?

Family-based immigration is a provision in U.S. immigration law allowing U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor their close relatives for a visa, forging a legal path toward permanent residency. The mechanism of family-based immigration is deeply rooted in the principle of family unification. It acknowledges the importance of family ties and aims to minimize the prolonged separation that can result from immigration.

Benefits of Family-Based Immigration

Family-based immigration offers numerous benefits. It provides a lawful means for family unification and an opportunity to enjoy the freedoms and privileges of living in the U.S. Additionally, family-based immigrants contribute to the U.S. economy, cultural diversity, and social fabric, making the country richer in many ways.

Family-Based Immigrant Categories

In family-based immigration, relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are classified into two major categories: Immediate Relatives and Family Preference.

Immediate Relatives

These are the closest relatives of U.S. citizens. Under this category, there is no cap on the number of visas issued each year.

  1. IR1/CR1: A U.S. citizen can sponsor their foreign spouse, ensuring the couple can live together in the U.S.
  2. K-1: Fiancé Visa issued to those who are engaged to US citizens.
  3. IR2: U.S. citizen parents can protect their unmarried children that are under 21.
  4. IR3: This category facilitates international adoption, giving orphans a chance at stable family life.
  5. IR4: A similar provision for children who will be adopted in the United States.
  6. IR5: Adult U.S. citizens can ensure their aging parents receive the care and support they need.
  7. IW: This safeguards the rights of widows or widowers to continue living in the U.S. after the U.S. citizen’s death.

When navigating this category, the guidance of an Albany NY immigration lawyer can be instrumental in ensuring a smooth immigration process. Whether you are keeping your immediate family together or growing your family through adoption or a fiancé, we can help you through the process. Let our experience help your family.

Family Preference

Building on the foundation of immediate relatives, family-based immigration also extends to more distant family relationships under the family preference category. The number of visas issued annually under this category is limited, making the process more competitive.

  1. F1: This provision allows U.S. citizens to sponsor their unmarried children who are 21 and above.
  2. F2A: Lawful permanent residents can sponsor their spouses and minor children, ensuring the family stays together.
  3. F2B: This provision extends to adult children of lawful permanent residents.
  4. F3: U.S. citizens can sponsor their married children and their families under this category.
  5. F4: U.S. citizens, who are at least 21 years old, can sponsor their siblings and their families.

Each has unique application requirements and waiting periods. Engaging an Albany NY immigration lawyer ensures that your application is accurately prepared and effectively presented.

Documentation and Evidence for Family-Based Petitions

The family-based immigration process relies heavily on the provision of accurate and relevant documentation to prove the validity of familial relationships and the legal status of all parties involved. Preparing an adequately documented petition can be daunting, but it’s a crucial step that can significantly impact the outcome of the application.

Firstly, proof of the petitioner’s U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status is required. This could be a birth certificate, passport, naturalization certificate, or certificate of citizenship. Lawful permanent residents should provide a copy of both sides of their Permanent Resident Card, also known as a “Green Card.”

Secondly, evidence of the qualifying familial relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary is required. For instance, birth certificates must be provided when petitioning for children or parents, marriage certificates for spouses, and divorce decrees if any party was previously married. For sibling petitions, both the petitioner’s and beneficiary’s birth certificates showing at least one common parent are required. For fiancé visas you must have proof of an in-person visit.

Furthermore, the beneficiary’s nationality needs to be verified, which can be done through a passport, birth certificate, or national ID card.

Certain cases might require additional documentation. For instance, when petitioning for a spouse, evidence to prove the bona fide nature of the marriage (such as joint financial documents, photographs, lease agreements, etc.) may be requested. If the beneficiary is the child of a U.S. citizen and was born out of wedlock, evidence that a bona fide parent-child relationship exists or existed could be required.

Importantly, all documents must be translated into English, and any foreign documents must be accompanied by a full English translation that the translator has certified as complete and accurate.

Finally, the petition should also include Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and the accompanying fees.

Talk to an Immigration Attorney in Albany, NY

Family-based immigration is more than just a legal procedure. It’s about bringing families together, creating a sense of belonging, and enabling dreams of a better future. The process might be arduous, but the rewards are immeasurable. At The Towne Law Firm, P.C., we’re not just your legal advisors, we’re your partners in this critical journey.

Are you ready to take the first step towards reuniting with your family in the U.S.? Contact us at The Towne Law Firm, P.C., today. Let’s walk the path of family-based immigration together, fostering a promising future for you and your loved ones in the United States.