Family Green Cards
Los Angeles Family Based Green Card Lawyer
California Family Immigration Lawyer
At Yaghmai Law Firm, APC our Family Immigration Lawyer will help you with all your family based immigration needs, whether you need a green card for your parents or green card for your siblings. Our immigration family lawyer can help petition for your fiancé, children, parents, brothers, or sisters. Our goal is to reunite your loved ones and keep immigrant families together.
Immigrant Visas (IVs)
Immigrant visas (i.e. green card or permanent residency) may be acquired through family-based or employment-based preference categories and also through the annual Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery. Permanent residency allows a person to work without any restrictions and to live in the United States on a permanent basis.
Most individuals are “sponsored” by an employer (“employment-based immigrant visa”) or by a family member (“family-based immigrant visa”) in the United States. In certain cases, an individual can “self-petition” for a green card or permanent residency (i.e. file on your own behalf).
Further, the United States holds an annual Diversity Visa Lottery (“DV Lottery”) that grants 50,000 green cards through a randomized computer drawing. Other individuals may become permanent residents of the United States through refugee or asylum petitions or other humanitarian programs enacted by Congress and implemented by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”).
The green card application process can be very time consuming so it is important for individuals to maintain lawful non-immigrant status if they are applying from within the United States.
Family Based Immigration Green Cards
Immediate Relatives (IR) include:
- Spouses of U.S. citizens;
- Unmarried minor children of U.S. citizens; and
- Parents of U.S. citizens age 21 or older.
The benefit of immigrating as an immediate relative is that there is no cap, or quota, on the number of visas available each year. United States citizens have a more lenient process to apply for a green card for their parents, unmarried children, and their spouse. Lawful permanent residents must go through the family preference system for their immigrant parents or other family members.
Family Preference System
The family preference system allows the following persons to immigrate:
- Adult children (unmarried and married) of U.S. citizens;
- Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens age 21 years or older; and
- Spouses and unmarried children (both minor and adult) of Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs)
The following are the family preference categories:
- First Preference F-1: unmarried son or daughter (age 21 or over) of U.S. citizen parent
- Second Preference F-2A: spouses or unmarried children (under 21) of LPR
- Second Preference F-2B: unmarried sons or daughters age 21 and over of LPR
- Third Preference F-3: married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- Fourth Preference F-4: brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, where citizen is at least age 21
A limited number of visas are available every year under the family preference system.
Legal immigration to the United States is controlled by numerical limitations called quotas, which are applied to the family-based category and to the overall number of legal immigrant (permanent resident) visas distributed per country, per year. Backlogs develop because there are more applicants in some countries and categories than there are visas. There are also the non-quota immigrants, such as immediate relatives, who are exempted from the yearly limitations.
Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative
USCIS Form I-130 is used to petition for your immediate relatives or other family members who fall into the family preference categories. You must file Form I-130 petition as the first step to acquiring a family green card for your family members.
What are the I-130 Processing Times?
The most frequent question regarding any family based immigration case is “how long does it take for a family based green card case?” Unfortunately, there is no good answer to this question. There are a variety of factors that go into determining USCIS I-130 processing times:
- Pre-existing case backlog;
- Current volume of new I-130 Petition for Alien Relative petitions;
- Number of USCIS staff available to process I-130 Petition for Alien Relative petitions;
- USCIS budget considerations which may affect availability of necessary resources to decide cases in a timely manner;
- And many more factors…
To see the current USCIS case processing times, you may click here to visit the USCIS website.
Where can I find the I-130 Instructions?
USCIS constantly updates their application forms and as such, the instructions may also be updated at any given time. Even for experienced family immigration lawyers, it is best practice to review the I-130 Form instructions prior to starting any family based petition for alien relative.
The instructions for Form I130 can be found here on the USCIS website.
What is the I-130 Fee?
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security determines the filing fees for all USCIS forms, including the petition for alien relative fee. As with the updates in the forms, the fees may also be changed and must always be verified prior to filing. USCIS fee increases are common so it is always best practice to file as soon as you are eligible.
To find the current Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative fee, please visit USCIS website’s Fee Calculator page.