Family Visas

family african americanFamily unity is at the heart of the U.S. Immigration system. Whether you are wanting to have your fiance join you in the United States to get married or bring your parents here to help care for your young child, each case is unique and involves many moving parts. Our goal is to simplify this process for you so that you and your family members understand what is involved and know how to deal with every step along the way.

What Family Members Can I File For?

asian grandparentsIf you are a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), you can file for certain family members. The process will be different depending on if your relative is already in the U.S. or if they are living in their home country.

If you are a U.S citizen of any age, you can file for your spouse and/or your child. If you are a U.S. citizen at least 21 years of age, you can file for your parents and/or your brothers and/or sisters.

If you are a lawful permanent resident, you can file for your spouse and/or any of your children that are unmarried.

For a full explanation of how the petitioning process works and how long each type of family member has to wait before a visa is available, read our blog post: It’s All About The Numbers – Family Visas Explained.

Family Immigration Services

Heitz Immigration Law can provide you with legal advice and administer all of the following services. Affordable flat rates, flexible payment plans and stellar customer service are standard.

  • Fiance Visa (K-1) or Spouse Visa (K-3)

The K-1 visa is used to bring your fiance to the United States in order to get married here. Once your fiance arrives, you have a 90 day period in which to get married. First we submit the I-129F to USCIS and once approved, your fiance will receive notice from the U.S. Consulate in his or her country. At that time there will be more forms for your fiance to submit, as well as an immigration medical and affidavit of support. It is critical that your supporting documentation is sufficient to establish that a valid relationship exists. We will work to ensure that all of your paperwork is in order. Once the marriage takes place, the green card application can then be submitted. If you already married your fiance outside of the U.S. you would apply for a K-3 visa and a similar procedure would be required to get your new spouse to the U.S. Read about how this entire process works in our blog post: How To Bring Your Fiance To America.

  • Family Petition, I-130

This is the first step in getting your relative a ticket in the immigration line. What the I-130 petition establishes is that there is a valid family relationship between the U.S. petitioner and the foreign beneficiary. If your family member is the type of relative for which there is an immediate visa number available, the green card application can be submitted right away. This will happen if you are a U.S. citizen and you are filing for your spouse, your parent (as long as you are at least 21 years of age), or your unmarried child under 21 years of age. All other eligible family relationships require that the beneficiary wait until a visa number is available. For a complete description of who has to wait and for how long, read our blog post: It’s All About The Numbers – Family Visas Explained.

  • Consular Processing

If your family member is already in the U.S. at the time when their visa is approved, they will avoid having to go through the U.S. Consulate in their home country in order to join you. Perhaps your spouse arrived in the U.S. many years ago on a visitor visa, yet overstayed and now you just got married. This is quite a common scenario and as long as your new spouse has their I-94 card to prove they entered the country legally, they are still eligible for a family petition and adjustment of status.

However, many relatives are petitioned for when they are still living in their home country. In this case, once the I-130 petition is approved and a visa number is available, your relative will have to go through Consular Processing in their home country. This requires a lot of back and forth documentation between the petitioner, the beneficiary and the U.S. Department of State Consulate. This can all take some time and for the foreign relative waiting back home, it can be a stressful and confusing experience. Our goal is to make sure the entire process runs smoothly and that your loved ones arrive as quickly as possible.

  • Academic Student Visa, F-1

Many families living abroad have a dream for their child to study in the United States. This dream can become a reality with some hard work on the part of the student and the family. Getting good grades does help because the chances of acceptance at top colleges and universities will be greater. However, being accepted into the school is not the only requirement. The student must show that they have the financial means to pay for their education at out-of-state tuition rates and also for their entire stay in the U.S. during their studies. Find out how this process works and how the student can turn their U.S. education into a full time U.S. job in our blog post: Go From Studying In The U.S. To Working In The U.S.

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Many people will recall when President Obama made the headlines with his memo on June 15, 2012 that children who were brought to the U.S. before their 16th birthday with no legal status were too young to have intended to violate U.S. immigration laws. Thus was born, DACA, the consideration that an already existing immigration process called Deferred Action, be granted to these types of young people as long as they had no felonies or significant misdemeanors, they continuously remained in the U.S. and they graduated from high school or were an honorably discharged veteran. Deferred Action is however, only a temporary benefit and must be renewed. It results in a work permit, but does not lead to a green card. We can help with stalled renewals and cases where documentation has been difficult to provide.

  • Intercountry Adoption

Many families seek to adopt a child from another country. This can be a wonderful opportunity for all involved as the child can experience a loving, permanent home in a country with many possibilities for their future. The parents can be enriched knowing they have made a tremendous difference in the life of a child who may otherwise have been subject to a life of poverty. The steps you need to take will depend upon whether the country from which you adopt, follows the laws of the Hague Convention. We can help you navigate through this often complex process.

Heitz Immigration Law can provide you with legal advice and administer all of the above services. Affordable flat rates, flexible payment plans and stellar customer service are standard.