Family Based Immigration
As a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) you have the right to petition certain family members for immigration benefits. If your family member is eligible to legalize inside the U.S. they can apply through a process called Adjustment of Status. If your family member is not eligible for legalization in the U.S. or they live outside of the U.S., they may still be able to legalize through a process called Consular Processing.
Adjustment of Status
This is the process by which you or a family member becomes a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the U.S. This is what is often referred to as obtaining a “green card.” The most common way of obtaining permanent residency is through a petition by a family member. If you qualify for Adjustment of Status you will be able to get your green card without having to leave the U.S. People who do not qualify for Adjustment of Status must go through a process known as Consular Processing.
Some of the requirements for Adjustment of Status are:
- You must have entered the U.S. legally by being admitted or paroled
- There must be a visa immediately available
- You must not be inadmissible (usually due to a criminal conviction)
- A petition filed on your behalf by any qualifying family member or employer filed before April 30,2001
When you want to immigrate family members who live outside of the U.S. or if your family member is not eligible to legalize their status inside the U.S. through Adjustment of Status, they may still be able to legalize through a process call Consular Processing. This process may requires your family member to leave the U.S. and return to their country of citizenship in order to obtain an immigrant visa. There are many requirements to be eligible for this process and your family member may be barred from coming back to the U.S. for ten years if he leaves the U.S. so be very careful before starting this process. We can answer all your questions about Consular Processing.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Our future depends on educating and preparing our talented youth for the challenges of ahead. If you meet the requirements for DACA, you may be able to get temporary status, which will allow you to live, work and travel in the U.S. You may also pursue your dream of a higher education. Below are some of the requirements.
- Have come to the U.S. before your sixteenth birthday
- Have lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
- Have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
- Not have lawful status on June 15, 2007
- Be at least 15 years old
- Be currently enrolled in school, received your high school diploma or GED.
- Have not been convicted of a felony
- Have not been convicted of a significant misdemeanor
- Not pose a threat to national Security or public safety
Naturalization & Citizenship
Naturalization is the legal process by which a non-citizen in a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country. Citizenship is similar but citizenship may be acquired by people even if they were born outside of the U.S.
- Must be age 18 or older at the time of filing for naturalization
- Must be a permanent resident (LPR) for at least five years
- Must have continuous residence in the U.S. as LPR for at least five years immediately preceding the date of filing
- Must demonstrate good moral character
- Must have attachment to principles of the U.S constitution
- Must be able to read, write, and speak and understand the English language (with some exceptions)
- Must have knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government
Sometimes, a person born outside the U.S. may acquire U.S. citizenship through U.S. citizenship parent. These requirements vary depending on whether one or both of your parents are U.S. citizens, when you were born, whether or not your parents were married at the time of the child’s birth, etc. If one of your parents is a U.S. citizen, you may already be a U.S. citizen. Let’s talk about your case.
Victims of Crime or Violence
If you or your immediate family member has been a victim of a violent crime or a victim of domestic violence, you and certain family members may qualify for legal status. The two most common forms of protection for victims are application under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) or to apply for U Visa nonimmigrant status.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
If you are a battered spouse, child or parent, you may file an immigrant visa petition. Spouses, children and parents of an abusive U.S. citizen may qualify (spouses and children of lawful permanent residents (LPR) may also qualify) to apply without the abuser’s knowledge or cooperation.
- Spouse: If your are or were the spouse of a U.S. citizen or LPR, or if your child has been abused by your U.S. citizen or LPR spouse.
- Child: You may file if you are an abused child under 21, unmarried and have been abused by your U.S. citizen or LPR parent. Your children may also be included in your petition. In some cases you may apply after the age of 21.
- Parent: You may file if you are the parent of a U.S. citizen and you have been abused by your U.S. citizen son or daughter.
Being a victim of crime can be a devastating and traumatic experience. If you have been a victim of certain crimes and have suffered mental or physical abuse, you may qualify for this visa.
- Victim of a qualifying criminal activity
- Suffered substantial physical or mental abuse
- Have information about the criminal activity
- Were helpful, are helpful or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime
- The crime occurred in the U.S. or violate U.S. laws
- Are admissible to the U.S. (or qualify for a waiver)
You may apply for a U Visa even if you are outside the U.S. You and certain qualifying members may obtain permanent resident status (green card).
Removal (Deportation) Defense
If you, or a loved one, are detained by immigration officials, you may be placed in removal proceedings, also known as deportation proceedings. People in removal proceedings have the opportunity to present their case to an Immigration Judge who will decide of the person will be allowed to stay in the U.S. or must return to their country. Anyone who is not a U.S. citizen may be placed in removal or deportation proceedings. Lawful permanent residents (LPR’s) may be placed in proceedings, usually due to a criminal conviction. People with no lawful immigration status may be placed in removal proceedings simply because of their undocumented status.