A Wheaton family-based green card lawyer understands the value a green card has in your life as well as the challenges you may face when seeking the visa necessary to obtain a green card. More importantly, an experienced immigration lawyer knows how to make the most of the opportunities in the application process and how to avoid common mistakes that can lead to delays and denials.

U.S. immigration law is complex and subject to frequent changes through statutory amendments, Executive Orders, departmental regulations, and agency interpretations of rules. Working with an attorney who follows these changes and who has seen strategies that could lead to success in the application process often provides a welcome sense of assurance during a time that may be fraught with anxiety.

Who Qualifies for a Family-Based Green Card?

The U.S. government allows citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who hold green cards to petition for an immigrant visa on behalf of some of their family members. Not all family connections, however, qualify. Moreover, some relationships are ranked higher in preference than others, so a Wheaton family-based green card attorney could help determine which category of visa to apply for in a particular situation.

A foreign national may be able to obtain a family-based green card in Wheaton if they are related to a U.S. citizen as a:

  • Husband
  • Wife
  • Son
  • Daughter
  • Parent (if the citizen is at least 21-years-old)
  • Brother (if the citizen is at least 21-years-old)
  • Sister (if the citizen is at least 21-years-old

Spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of applicants may apply for a derivative visa at the time of initial visa filing. The fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen may not immediately qualify for a green card, but may obtain a temporary K-visa to allow them to enter the U.S. for the wedding. Once married, the new spouse may start the green card application process.

Relatives of lawful permanent residents who hold a green card may be eligible to immigrate on the basis of the family connection. However, this opportunity is only available for spouses and unmarried children.

The Visa Required for a Green Card

A family-based green card is an identification card showing that the holder is a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. eligible to live and work legally in the country. To obtain a green card, an individual must have a permanent visa, also known as an immigrant visa.

Most immigrant visas are issued in restricted quantities each year, so many applicants have a long wait before they are able to receive the necessary visa. Certain relatives of U.S. citizens, namely spouses, parents, and minor children, are eligible for an immediate relative visa, and there no limits on the number of visas granted in this category.

The process of obtaining a family-based immigrant visa starts with the citizen or LPR filing a Petition for Alien Relative with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A family-based green card lawyer in Wheaton could assist with the petition process or at any stage thereafter. Once USCIS has approved the petition, the prospective immigrant may be invited to apply for a visa or may be required to wait until a visa becomes available.

Consult a Wheaton Family-Based Green Card Attorney

Incomplete or inaccurate information on an immigration petition, visa application, or in supporting documentation can cause tremendous problems. Agency staff may set paperwork aside while they try to find answers, and this can lead to significant delays. If something looks wrong and they believe you may be trying to mislead them, they could rule your application to be fraudulent. In particular, the U.S. government is wary of marriages they believe may be entered into solely to facilitate immigration.

Someone accused of fraud in the process of obtaining a green card may be denied a visa or be subject to removal proceedings. Guidance from an experienced Wheaton family-based green card lawyer could prevent these types of problems. For a consultation to learn how an immigration lawyer could assist in your situation, call now.

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