Las Vegas Family-Based Immigration Attorney
Keeping Families Together in Henderson, Southern Nevada
Family unification is an important component of immigration. American citizens and lawful permanent residents have the ability to sponsor qualifying relatives for green cards. These visas confer lawful permanent residency and offer a pathway to citizenship.
Our Las Vegas family-based immigration lawyer can serve as your guide and advocate throughout each step of the sponsorship process. At American Liberty Law Group, we are passionate about protecting families and are prepared to explore every available option that will help your loved ones build lives in the United States. In addition to helping with family petitions and waivers, we also assist with employment authorization applications and renewals. Our team has over 30 years of combined legal experience and understands what is at stake. We are committed to providing you with the compassionate and capable representation your family needs and deserves.
Who Can Obtain a Green Card Through Family Sponsorship?
Only United States citizens and lawful permanent residents can sponsor certain types of family members for green cards. Qualifying family members are divided into two categories: immediate relatives and family preference relatives.
Immediate relative immigration categories include:
- Spouses of U.S. citizens
- Unmarried children (under the age of 21) of U.S. citizens
- Parents of U.S. citizens
Family preference relative immigration categories include:
- Unmarried children (over the age of 21) of U.S. citizens
- Married children (any age) of U.S. citizens
- Siblings of U.S. citizens
- Spouses of lawful permanent residents
- Unmarried children (any age) of lawful permanent residents
Note that certain types of relatives, including grandparents, grandchildren, cousins, aunts, and uncles, are not eligible for sponsorship. In theory, more distant relatives may be eligible for sponsorship as their more immediate relatives attain lawful permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship. Same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are eligible for green cards.
The process for sponsoring a qualifying family member begins with submitting the appropriate application materials to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We can assist you with preparing and submitting all necessary paperwork.
Wait times can fluctuate, but it will most likely take at least several months before USCIS processes your family member’s application. If you are sponsoring an immediate relative, you do not wait to have to wait for a visa to become available once their application is approved – your loved one can immediately move to adjust their status or complete consular processing once their application has been approved. If you are sponsoring a family preference relative, you will need to wait for your visa to become “current” before proceeding.
USCIS limits the number of green cards issued to family preference relatives each year. Because there are historically more applicants than available visas, your loved one will need to wait for one to become available before moving to the next step. The extent of your wait will depend on the current backlog, your loved one’s relationship with the sponsoring relative, and your loved one’s country of origin.
In some cases, you may be looking at a wait of several years or more. Our Las Vegas family-based immigration attorney can evaluate your situation and help you understand what to expect.
Once a visa does become available, your loved one will need to either “adjust their status” or complete consular processing. Your family member can request an adjustment of status if they are currently and lawfully based in the United States. They will need to go through consular processing if they are located outside the country or are otherwise not eligible for an adjustment of status. Consular processing will take place at their home country’s U.S. embassy or consular office. After receiving their green card, they will be able to travel to and reenter the country
Obtaining a green card makes you a lawful permanent resident. Beneficiaries can live and work practically anywhere in the United States. Green card holders will also be eligible for citizenship after maintaining several years of continuous and physical presence in the country.
Overcoming Grounds of Inadmissibility
Sponsoring a loved one for a green card is unfortunately not always a simple process. Inadmissibility due to unlawful presence is one of the most common obstacles that prevent families from securing green cards for their loved ones.
When someone is located in the United States without valid status, they begin to accrue “unlawful presence.” Accumulating too much unlawful presence triggers inadmissibility on those grounds, resulting in the immigrant being barred from reentering the country for several years or more.
Being inadmissible due to unlawful presence can be especially problematic for undocumented immigrants that otherwise qualify for family-based green cards. Because individuals in these scenarios did not enter the United States lawfully, they are not eligible to adjust their status from within the country. Consequently, they must travel to their home country and complete consular processing to secure their green cards. However, due to their inadmissibility, they will be unable to reenter the U.S. until their ban expires.
Several solutions to this problem are potentially available. If your loved one is an immediate relative of an active-duty member or veteran of the U.S. armed forces or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, they may be eligible for a benefit called Military Parole in Place (Military PIP). Military PIP cures – or “forgives” – inadmissibility on the grounds of unlawful presence. Beneficiaries of Military PIP can apply to adjust their status from within the country.
If your loved one does not qualify for Military PIP, they may still be able to overcome inadmissibility through a provisional unlawful presence waiver. This waiver is available to qualifying immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. To obtain this waiver, you must demonstrate that your family would experience undue hardship if your sponsored loved one is not able to return to the United States. Our team has an exceptional record of securing provisional unlawful presence waivers for our clients, and we will do everything possible to overcome whatever challenges you face in your immigration journey.
If you obtain your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you will have to prove the authenticity of your relationship to USCIS. If you obtain your green card before you and your spouse have been married for at least two years, you will receive a “conditional” green card. This green card will expire after two years – instead of the usual ten. You will need to take steps to “remove conditions” from your green card if you wish to maintain your status as a lawful permanent resident.
Removing conditions involves demonstrating the continued legitimacy of your marriage to USCIS. To initiate this process, you will need to file a joint petition with your spouse in the 90-day window before the conditional green card is set to expire. Your status as a lawful permanent resident will remain valid (pending the result of your petition) so long as you file on time.
You will need to include additional documentation of your relationship with your petition. Ideally, you will include new evidence from the preceding two years that shows the evolution of your marriage. In most cases, you will then need to participate in another in-person interview with a USCIS official. If the USCIS official is satisfied following this interview, they will approve the petition and “remove conditions.” The green card will now be valid for ten years and can be more easily renewed.
Our Las Vegas family-based immigration lawyer can assist you with removing conditions and represent you in all communications with USCIS. Lt. Col. Marvin previously worked as a government attorney and is prepared to fight for you and your family. Our team at American Liberty Law Group is familiar with how family-based immigration petitions are processed and scrutinized and can leverage our knowledge to benefit your case.
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