Family-Based Immigration

Our office represents individuals physically in the United States applying for permanent residence with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, as well as those who are abroad and applying for permanent residence at a U.S. consulate. We also represent applicants who are in removal proceedings before the Immigration Court, who are seeking to remain in the U.S. based on a family petition.

It is possible to obtain lawful permanent resident status through a family member if you are the spouse, parent or child (under 21 and unmarried) of a U.S. citizen (known as “immediate relatives”), the unmarried son or daughter of a U.S. citizen (21 or over), the married son or daughter of a U.S. citizen, the spouse or unmarried son or daughter of a permanent resident, or the sibling of a U.S. citizen. It is also possible for the spouse of a Cuban national to apply for permanent residence under the Cuban Adjustment Act, if certain conditions are met.

Only immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, as well as spouses and children of Cuban nationals, have visas immediately available to them, in that there is no quota. This means that an immediate relative or spouse or child of a Cuban national can apply for permanent residence right away without having to “wait in line”. All other categories of family-based immigrants must first file a petition, and then wait for the “priority date” to be reached before applying for permanent residence. This wait can be from 3 to 20+ years, depending on the category and country of origin. The filing of a petition alone does not convey legal status to the beneficiary, so if the beneficiary is in the United States, he or she must maintain legal status independently of this process.

We handle complex cases, including those where the applicant may have a criminal record requiring a waiver of inadmissibility, and cases which have been previously denied.

Our office also handles special cases, such as those involving orphans, adopted children, special immigrant juveniles, and husbands, wives, children or parents who have been the victims of abuse.

  • K-1 Fiancé(e)

    It is possible for the fiancé (e) of a United States citizen to obtain a temporary visa (K-1) to enter the U.S. if they intend to marry their U.S. citizen fiancé (e) within 90 days of arrival. A petition must be approved by USCIS before the visa can be issued at a U.S. consulate abroad. Once in the U.S., the fiancé (e) must marry the U.S. citizen petitioner and file for adjustment of status to residency within 90 days.

  • Battered Spouses, Children and Parents (VAWA)

    The Violence Against Women Act provides special protection for those applicants (male or female) who have been the victim of physical or extreme mental and psychological abuse by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent. This law allows victims to apply for permanent residence without requiring the assistance of the abuser. The proceedings are kept confidential, and the petitions are adjudicated by CIS officers who have received specialized training.

    Each case is carefully screened to ensure that the marriage was in fact valid, and that there is no fraud in the petition. It is essential that the petitions contain as much documentary evidence as possible.

  • Cuban Adjustment

    Under the Cuban Adjustment Act, a citizen or national of Cuba may apply for permanent residence one year and one day after having been inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States. Additionally, if the Cuban national has a spouse or minor child residing with him or her, who has also been inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States, those family members may also apply under the Cuban Adjustment Act. There are also special provisions for those eligible under the Cuban Adjustment Act who have been subjected to physical or extreme mental abuse. We handle simple to complex cases, including those with criminal or prior removal history, or cases where the Cuban national has lost proof of entry, or proof of Cuban citizenship.

  • Consular Processing

    Our firm assists those applying for both immigrant and non-immigrant visas at a U.S. consulate overseas. Although there is no appeal if a visa is refused, we do assist in requesting reconsideration if a meritorious case was erroneously denied by the consulate.

  • I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions

    If you obtain residence through marriage to a U.S. citizen, and at the time of receiving residence you have been married for less than 2 years, you will be granted conditional, not permanent, residence. The resident card will be valid for 2 years. During the 90 period prior to the expiration of the card, you must file a petition to remove the condition. The petition can be filed jointly with your spouse, or you may file it alone if it was a good faith marriage but it ended in divorce. There are also other special circumstances under which you can file the petition without your spouse. Our firm handles special petitions seeking a waiver based on hardship, abuse, or fear of persecution in one’s home country. We also handle complex cases where the applicant is in removal or deportation proceedings, or where the petition was not timely filed.

    It is important that an attorney assess what type of petition must be filed, and in most cases, it is critical that the petition be filed prior to the expiration of conditional residence.

  • Child Status Protection Act (CSPA)

    Our office handles complex claims to protection under the Child Status Protection Act, before United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, the Immigration Court, and U.S. consular posts abroad. This law was enacted in 2002 to protect minors against “aging out” when they turn 21, which under the prior law meant they would lose derivative benefits through their parents’ applications. This law applies to family-based and employment-based applications for adjustment of status (Iawful permanent residence), to asylum applicants, and to diversity visa lottery cases. Each CSPA claim is extremely fact-specific and must be carefully analyzed and calculated to determine whether the child can still obtain derivative benefits even after age 21.


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