The US immigration lawyers in Milwaukee at Gamiño Law Offices, LLC help clients get visas for their immediate and extended family members to legally immigrate to the United States as lawful permanent residents. One of the most successful ways to obtain a green card and come to the United States is through family sponsorship. Contact a knowledgeable Wisconsin immigration lawyer to determine what type of family sponsored visa petition is available for your relatives.
For an initial consultation with a dedicated Wisconsin attorney doing their best to help with your US immigration concerns, contact our Milwaukee immigration lawyer. Also visit our immigration law resources page. We have Wisconsin lawyers in Waukesha and Milwaukee available to help with all your other legal needs.
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Frequently Asked Questions About US Immigration through a Family Member
- Pay the appropriate fees. An invoice listing the fees will be provided by the NVC.
- Submit required immigrant visa documents requested by the National Visa Center, including: an affidavit of support, form I-864; application forms, and other documents. Do not submit documents unless they were requested by NVC. Typically the following documents are required: a passport valid for 60 days beyond the immigrant visa expiration date, affidavit of support form I-864, application for immigrant visa and alien registration form DS-230, completed medical exam forms, 2 photographs, birth certificates, court and prison records, deportation documentation, marriage certificates, documentation of marriage termination, military records, petitioner documents, photograph of valid passport biographic data page, police certificates, and adoption documents. See the US Department of State for document requirements.
- Complete a medical exam and obtain required vaccinations. Before an immigrant visa can be issued every applicant, regardless of age, must undergo a medical examination by an authorized panel physician. You should complete your medical examination before your scheduled interview or processing of your immigrant visa will be delayed.
- Attend a visa interview at your US embassy or consulate. Once the visa application is complete at the NVC they will schedule the applicants interview. It is required to attend your interview to obtain your visa. At your interview you will answer questions about your application and have your biometrics collected, normally including fingerprints, photograph, and your signature. You should also bring any documents not already provided in support of your application regardless of whether they are expired, including your passport. A consular official will complete your application's processing and decide whether to grant your immigrant visa. The sole authority to adjudicate (approve or deny) visa applications is is given to consular officials at US embassies and consulates. If your visa is granted the official will give you a "Visa Packet" which must be presented to the Customs and Border Protection Officer when you enter the United States. Do not open the Visa Packet.
- Pay your Immigrant Fee. You must normally pay your immigrant fee after you receive an immigrant visa and before you travel to the United States.
- Travel to the United States. You must enter the US before the expiration date printed on your visa. When traveling, the primary applicant must enter the US before or at the same time as family members holding visas. A visa does not guarantee entry to the United States. When you enter the United States you must give your Visa Packet to the Customs Officer at the port of entry. You will be inspected by customs. If you are found admissible you will be admitted to the United States as an immigrant with permanent residency, able to permanently live and work in the US. Once you have been admitted your permanent resident card, form I-551 (formerly called Alien Registration Card and commonly known as a green card) will be mailed to you.
- Apply for a social security card. If you did not elect to have your social security card issued upon admission to the US, you can apply for a social security card following your arrival through the Social Security Administration.
- If the visa petition is denied the denial letter will tell you how to appeal and when you must file an appeal. The appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
- Note, an approved visa petition is only used to demonstrate a qualifying relationship. An approved petition does not grant any benefit, it only creates a place in line (priority date) for visa processing. The sole authority to approve or deny visa applications is vested in the consular officials at United States Embassies and Consulates.
- If you are found ineligible by the consular officer your visa application will be denied. The official will give you a reason for the denial of your visa, called ineligibility. Some ineligibilities can be overcome, others are permanent unless a waiver of that ineligibility is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security.
- Money will not be refunded. The fees that you paid are non-refundable application processing fees.
- After being found ineligible you may reapply in the future. In most cases you must submit a new visa application and pay the fees again.
- When the number of qualified applicants for any family-based preference category exceeds the number of immigrant visas that are available the excess applications are placed in on a wait list. Immigration visas are issued based on the chronological order in which the petitions were filed, by date. The date the petition was filed is called the visa applicant's priority date. The priority dates differ based on country of origin and under which preference category the family sponsored petition was filed. Current priority dates are published by the US State Department in a monthly visa bulletin.
- If you are a US citizen petitioning for your alien spouse and children you may petition for them to be admitted to the United States on a non-immigrant K-3/K-4 visa using form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) while waiting for the I-130 petition to be adjudicated. The Petition for Alien Fiancée is the correct form, even though you must be married to receive a K-3 visa.
When a petitioner becomes a US citizen after filing a family based immigration petition for a spouse or minor child as a lawful permanent resident, those petitions must be converted from F2 (family 2nd preference) to IR (immediate relative) and your spouse and child will become immediately eligible for an immigration visa. Proof of US citizenship must be submitted to the National Visa Center. Separate petitions must be filed for minor children if the children were previously included in your spouse's F2 petition when the petitioner was a permanent resident.
Family Sponsored Visas Generally:
- When a family sponsored immigration petition is approved the beneficiary may apply for immigrant visas for their spouse and unmarried children under age 21 too.
- Special protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
- Eligibility for a green card upon admittance to the United States.
- Eligibilty to work upon admittance to the United States.
- The ability to apply to become a United States citizen once eligible.
- The right to apply for a driver's license in your state.
- The right to attend public school or college.
- The right to leave and return to the US under certain circumstances.
For Fiancée visa recipients and those based on a marriage of less than 2 years:
- Once a fiancé(e) K-1 non-immigrant visa is issued it allows your fiancé(e) to enter the United States for 90 days so that the marriage ceremony can take place. Once you are married your spouse may petition for permanent residence and remain in the US while the application is processed. Your spouse may also petition for work authorization immediately after admission to the United States using form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization valid for 90 days after entry, or may petition for extended work authorization together with the form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
- If you have been married less than 2 years when your spouse is granted permanent resident status, it will be a conditional permanent residence. To remove the conditions you and your spouse must apply together using a petition to remove the conditions of residence, form I-751, within the 90 day period before the expiration date on the the conditional resident card.
8. When will my family members be able to work in the US if they receive a family-sponsored visa?
Immediately upon arrival to the United States for individuals granted admission as permanent residents. A fiancé(e) admitted on a K-1, or spouse and children admitted as K-3/K-4 visa holders may petition for work authorization upon admission to the United States using form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
- In order to reduce the amount of time US citizens are separated from their qualifying immediate relatives, on March 4, 2013 USCIS will begin accepting provisional unlawful presence waivers using form I-601A to allow immediate relatives of US citizens who are present in the US and in the process of seeking immigration visas to become lawful permanent residents in the US before departing the United States to attend their immigrant visa interviews. Waiver recipients must still depart the US for consular processing, however they can apply for the provisional waiver before their depart.
- To be eligibile, the applicant must be an immediate relative of a US citizen, inadmissible only on account of unlawful presence, and must demonstrate that denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to the applicant's US citizen spouse or parent.
- Applicants planning to file form I-601A must notify the National Visa Center that they will be seeking a provisional waiver before applying if there is a pending immigrant visa case at NVC.
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Answers to Questions about Obtaining Lawful Permanent Residency for Relatives of US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents:
- There is an unlimited number of Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas for immediate relatives (IR) of US citizens
- IR-1: Spouse of a US citizen
- IR-2: Unmarried child of a US citizen under age 21
- IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a a US citizen
- IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the US by a US citizen
- IR-5: Parent of a US citizen who is at least 21 years old
- There are a limited number of Family Preference Immigrant Visas
- F1: Family First Preference - Unmarried child of a US citizen, and their minor children.
- F2: Family Second Preference - Spouses, minor children, and unmarried child aged 21 and over of a US permanent resident.
- F3: Family Third Preference - Married child of a US citizen, and their spouse and minor children.
- F4: Family Fourth Preference - Brothers or sisters of US citizens who are at least 21 years old, and their spouses and minor children.
- You may also sponsor your fiancée and that person's children to join you in the United States by obtaining a K-1 visa.
- Unfortunately, grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins are not eligible to sponsor a relative for immigration.
- Age of Sponsor: To file a an immigration petition for a sibling or parent the US citizen must be age 21 or older. There is no minimum age for a sponsor to file any other family based immigration petition, except that the sponsor must be at least 18 and have a US residence to sign an affidavit of support.
- Sponsor's Residency in the US: To file an immigrant petition for a family member the sponsor must maintain his or her principal residence in the United states.
- Determine what visa category or categories under which you are eligible to be sponsored.
- File a petition for a visa, using an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative or I-129, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) by a sponsoring relative.
- If your petition is approved and your relative is already in the United States he or she may apply to adjust status to become a permanent resident after a visa number becomes available.
- If your petition is approved and your relative is outside the United States, the petition will be sent to the National Visa Center for Consular Processing.
- Please note, an approved visa petition does not grant any benefit, it only creates a place in line (priority date) for visa processing.
- Wait for your priority date to become the most recent qualifying date for your immigration preference category.
- If a visa is not immediately available for your visa category, the NVC will send you notice that your petition was received and is being held until a visa is available.
- When the visa petition's priority date is current the National Visa Center will send a choice of address and agent form, DS-3032, to you or to your attorney.
Links to Information on helping relatives become a permanent resident:
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