Family-Based Immigration

Houston Family-Based Immigration Lawyer

Helping Families Nationwide Reunite with Their Loved Ones

One of the greatest benefits of lawful permanent residence or citizenship is the ability to bring your family members to the United States. However, this process is not always easy, and some family members have to wait months or years before reuniting with their loved ones. The stakes are high with family-based immigration, and you need and deserve support from a highly skilled lawyer. 

As a Houston family-based immigration lawyer who serves clients from across the nation, I understand how stressful this process may be. My goal is not just to alleviate this stress but also to help you feel excited about your journey. When you bring your case to the Law Office of Ivan Neel, you can benefit from a powerful combination of enthusiasm and professionalism, which allows us to overcome challenges and accomplish your immigration goals as efficiently and painlessly as possible.

Schedule your initial consultation with my Texas immigration law firm by calling (832) 447-6748 or contacting me online for a Houston family-based immigration attorney near you. I offer services in English and Spanish.

Understanding Family-Based Immigration

Family-based immigration is a process through which a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident can sponsor their family members for residency in the U.S. Family-based immigration is used to reunite families and promote family unity.

Family-based immigration is divided into two categories:

  1. Immediate relative immigration: Immediate relative immigration includes spouses of US citizens, unmarried children under 21 years of age of US citizens, and parents of US citizens over 21 years of age. For immediate relatives of US citizens, there is no limit on visas available each year. This means the process can be relatively fast, generally around 12-18 months.
  2. Family preference immigration: Family preference immigration includes unmarried children over 21 and married children of any age US citizens, as well as spouses and unmarried children of any age LPRs. Family preference immigration can take longer due to limited visas each year. Depending on the category and country of origin, the wait time can range from several years to more than a decade.

Timeline for Family-Based Immigration Cases

The length of time it takes for family-based immigration depends on several factors:

  • The relationship between the sponsor and the beneficiary
  • The beneficiary's country of origin
  • The number of visas available each year

Family-based immigration requires careful consideration and planning. It is imperative to work with an experienced immigration attorney to navigate the process and ensure the most favorable possible outcome during your family-based immigration case.

Eligibility Criteria for U.S. Citizen Sponsorship

Family-based immigration is broken down into certain categories, depending on your status. U.S. citizens can sponsor more family members than any other category. A U.S. citizen may be able to sponsor you if you are there:

  • Spouse;
  • Unmarried child under the age of 21;
  • Parent (if the U.S. citizen is 21 or older);
  • Son or daughter (married and/or over 21); or
  • Sibling (if the U.S. citizen is 21 or older).

Spouses, minor children, and parents of U.S. citizens are considered immediate relatives. If you are the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you won’t need to wait for a green card to become available—the U.S. government gives an unlimited number of green cards to the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens each year. 

K1 Visa: Fiancé(e) Visa Process Explained

U.S. citizens can also bring their foreign-citizen fiancé(e)s to the United States on a K-1 nonimmigrant visa. This visa allows the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to come to the United States specifically to marry a U.S. citizen and obtain a green card. If they don’t marry within 90 days, the nonimmigrant visa will expire, and the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) will need to leave the U.S. to avoid accumulating unlawful presence. If they do marry within 90 days, the foreign citizen can adjust their status to permanent residence.

Green Card Sponsorship for Lawful Permanent Residents

Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) cannot sponsor as many family members as U.S. citizens. A green card holder may be able to sponsor you if you are their:

  • Spouse; or
  • Unmarried son or daughter of any age.

If your parent is a green card holder, you may wait less time for a green card if you are under 21. 

Asylum and Refugee Family Reunification

The spouses and children (unmarried and under 21) of refugees and asylees may obtain derivative asylum or refugee status. The original refugee or asylee must sponsor their spouse or child within two years of achieving refugee or asylum status. The child may qualify for derivative status if they were unmarried and under 21 when the original refugee or asylee first applied for their status.

The Application Process

Your current location will play a role in what type of green card application process you undertake. If you are currently in the U.S. lawfully, you will need to adjust your status, which you can do without leaving the country. If you are outside the U.S., however, you will need to go through consular processing, which takes place abroad. If approved, you will receive an immigrant visa, which you will present at a U.S. port of entry, and you will receive your green card by mail if the CBP officer lets you into the country.

Ready to Unite Your Family in the U.S.? Call (832) 447-6748 or contact us online to start with a dedicated Houston immigration lawyer. We proudly serve families nationwide. 

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