Immigration law has a significant impact on family and marriage, particularly for noncitizens who are seeking to join or reunite with their families in the United States. Family-based immigration is one of the primary ways that noncitizens can obtain legal permanent residency in the United States. However, the immigration process can be complex and lengthy, and noncitizens must navigate a variety of legal requirements and restrictions.
Family-based immigration allows U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor their immediate relatives for immigration to the United States. Immediate relatives include spouses, parents, and unmarried children under the age of 21. U.S. citizens can also sponsor their married children and siblings, while legal permanent residents can sponsor their spouses and unmarried children.
To sponsor a family member for immigration, the sponsoring relative must file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition must include evidence of the relationship between the sponsor and the beneficiary, as well as proof that the sponsor meets certain financial requirements. Once the petition is approved, the beneficiary can apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status.
However, the process of obtaining a family-based visa or adjustment of status can be lengthy and difficult. There are annual quotas for family-based visas, which means that there may be long wait times for certain categories of family members. Additionally, non-citizens who are applying for a family-based visa must often
meet strict eligibility requirements, including proving their relationship to the sponsoring family member, demonstrating financial support, and passing background checks.
The process of obtaining a family-based visa or adjustment of status typically involves several steps, including submitting an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), attending an interview, and undergoing a medical exam. The process can take several months to several years, depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the category of visa being applied for.
It is important for non-citizens and their sponsoring family members to work with an experienced immigration attorney to navigate the complex process of obtaining a family-based visa or adjustment of status. An attorney can help ensure that all necessary documentation is submitted correctly and on time, and can provide guidance on how to address any issues or concerns that may arise during the process.