When you think of the American Dream, you think about family. At Colombo & Hurd, we are dedicated to helping families reunite legally in the United States through family immigration services. With family-based immigration, any United States citizen can petition to have their foreign relatives become citizens or permanent residents.
We understand how important it is to start a life with your loved ones around you in the United States. That’s why our family immigration lawyers in Tampa, Florida work hard to ensure the process is handled as quickly and efficiently as possible. We use firsthand knowledge and years of legal experience to ensure our clients fill out the correct forms and provide the right supplementary documents for a successful case.
Which Relatives Can I Petition For?
If you are a United States citizen or a permanent resident of the United States, then you can petition to have your immediate relatives move to America with you. According to immigration law, an immediate relative is defined as a parent, spouse, or any children who are unmarried and under the age of 21. United States citizens can also petition for any of the following:
- Child under the age of 21 years
- Unmarried son or daughter over 21 years old
- Married son or daughter (any age)
- Brother or sister of U.S. citizen (if sponsoring relative is at least 21 years old)
- Parent of U.S. citizen (if sponsoring relative is at least 21 years old)
Permanent residents of the United States can petition for any of the following to obtain residency:
- Husband or wife
- Unmarried son or daughter of any age
If you would like to petition for a family member who falls outside of any of the categories mentioned above, then there is a category system for doing so. Each of these family preference categories includes a limited number of immigrants that are allowed to come to the United States each year. The preference categories are listed as follows:
- The unmarried adult children of United States citizens.
- The husband or wife of legal permanent residents.
- The unmarried children of a legal permanent resident and their minor children.
- The married sons and daughters of United States citizens, their spouses and their minor children.
- The siblings of United States citizens, their spouses, and their minor children.
A Tampa family immigration lawyer can help you decide who to petition for based on your needs and your status as either a United States citizen or permanent resident of the United States. There are some things that could affect the details of your case. For example, if you were a permanent resident at the time you filed your petition, but then became a US citizen, then the type of family immigration visa your loved ones will receive then changes. The best way to ensure that everything is handled accurately and efficiently is to speak with a Tampa, Florida lawyer who is well-versed in family immigration law. Let us guide you in the right direction so you can be proactive in minimizing errors on your application.
How Long Does the Process Take to Receive a Family-Based Green Card?
The first step in receiving your family based immigration green card is for your loved one in the United States to file a petition on your behalf. Your loved one must be at least 21 years of age to do so. Once the petition has been approved by the USCIS, then it will be sent to the National Visa Center (or NVC) for assignment if your family member will process outside of the United States. From there you will then have to fill out Form DS-260, pay for any related fees, and submit the requested immigrant visa documents which could include any of the following:
- Passport(s) – Your passport must be valid for six months after the intended date of entry into the United States (in some cases, this may differ based on the foreign country of origin)
- Application – Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application (Form DS-260)
- Photos – Two 2×2 photographs in full color
- Civil Documents – This may include your birth or marriage certificate
- Completed Medical Examination Forms – You’ll receive these from the panel physician once you have completed your medical examination
Once all of the steps mentioned above are complete, there will also be a visa interview with the NVC and the foreign party wishing to enter the United States.
It is important to note that all family based immigration visas for non-immediate relatives are issued according to your “priority date”, which is based on when the petition was filed. There could be a very long waiting period before you receive your visa depending on when the petition is filed as well as if there is currently an influx of requests in a particular area. As such, there is no way to give an exact timeline for when your application will be accepted. It is simply best for you to submit your petition and provide the necessary information as soon as possible so you can receive your priority date sooner rather than later. Alternatively, if your family member is lawfully residing in the US at the time the priority date becomes current it imay be possible to adjust status within the US rather than proceeding through a US Consulate abroad.
With a Tampa family immigration lawyer on your side, this daunting process can become much easier. Your attorney will ensure that your petition is filed accurately and efficiently, so that you don’t have to wait another day to start the process. All family immigration cases are handled according to chronological order, which means you want to “get in line” as soon as you can so that you can reunite your family. Let one of our experienced immigration lawyers help you receive the family-based green card that you need in a timely manner.
What Are Common Reasons for a Family Green Card to Be Denied?
Following the visa interview, you or your loved one will receive a notice stating whether you have been accepted or rejected. Your application can be denied for a number of reasons, including:
- The consular officer does not have all of the information needed for your visa
- You don’t qualify for the visa category for which you applied
- Criminal activity in your past makes you ineligible
Your application could be denied for reasons beyond those mentioned above, but your notice should provide you with a clear reason for your rejection.
The solution to avoid these types of issues is to be proactive when it comes to applying for your family immigration visa. Hiring a Tampa family immigration lawyer could make the difference in your case. Your attorney will ensure all of the information you need is gathered in a timely manner and make sure you apply for the correct visa categories so that this will not be an issue. By being upfront about issues in your past, you and your lawyer can discuss potential solutions to anything that could prevent you from being able to join your family in the United States.
Schedule a Consultation with a Family Immigration Lawyer in Tampa, Florida Today
Colombo & Hurd has years of experience helping families reconnect in the United States through the legal family immigration process. As such, we have seen a number of cases and we know that every family and every scenario is different. That is why we always advise those interested in family-based green cards to reach out to an experienced attorney when they want to take that step to bringing the ones they love most to the United States. We pay specialized attention to your family immigration case to ensure that the process is a smooth and as quick as possible for you. To get started, reach out to one of our knowledgeable family immigration lawyers in Tampa, Florida at (813) 444-1114 to discuss the details of your case.