Immigrating to the United States is an exciting but complicated process. Helping a loved one immigrate to the U.S. can often be overwhelming. Whether you are trying to obtain a family green card or a fiancé visa, identifying and managing the proper immigration documentation and procedures is very complex. Richard Herman and the dedicated immigration attorneys at Herman Legal Group have protected thousands of families facing U.S. immigration authorities in Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit and beyond. It is important that you consult with a green card attorney / visa attorney at the beginning of the immigration process to prevent any unnecessary complications that might cause delays in being reuniting with your loved ones.
Immediate Family Member Immigration
If you are planning to help an immediate relative immigrate to the United States, the first step is often to file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. By filing this I-130 form, you will be naming yourself as the sponsor for your loved one. During this family petition process you will be required to prove that you have enough income and assets to support your family member. In some cases, the I-130 form can also be filed with an application for permanent residence (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
If you are already a U.S. citizen, you can file a visa request for your immediate family members. Immediate relative visas are available for spouses, unmarried children younger than 21 years of age, adopted orphans, and even parents of a U.S. citizen who is over the age of 21 years old.
If you are not a U.S. citizen but are a lawful permanent resident of the United States, you may petition for your husband, wife, or children.
If you are engaged or recently married, congratulations! This is an exciting time in the lives of any new couple. But if your new spouse is not a United States citizen, you may have some concerns about what will happen legally once you return from your honeymoon. Many couples in your situation are eager to get a green card (also known as lawful permanent resident status) for the new non-citizen spouse, which can lead to benefits such as the right to work in the country.
The Legal Process
To obtain a green card, the couple will begin by filing the official forms (often the I-130 form and I-485 form) along with providing photographs and documentation. They must then pay the required fees to various government agencies, report for fingerprinting and biometrics, and submit to questioning at an interview with an immigration agent before being approved. A few details may vary based on your location, but in our experience with thousands of cases in the Cleveland, Columbus and Detroit areas, the total process is usually completed in a few months. Importantly, if you have been married for less than two years, the green card will be granted conditionally and you must take additional steps at a specific time in the future to remove these conditions, or else your spouse can be at risk of removal or deportation.
For a simple “textbook” marriage green card case, the newlyweds may be comfortable completing these steps on their own. Others feel overwhelmed or intimidated navigating a bureaucratic immigration process where mistakes can have serious legal consequences. This is especially true if your situation is not “textbook.” For example, issues that our clients often face that can make the process more complicated or risky include:
Experience Equals Success
The good news is that the United States government and court system have a stated legal policy of promoting marriage and family unity. We are committed to protecting these rights for our clients, whether citizens or immigrants. Only an experienced immigration attorney can recognize potential pitfalls in each case and provide a strategy that will maximize the likelihood of a successful outcome and minimize stress and delays for the family. Read what our clients have to say about how we helped them get their marriage green card.
Common Types of U.S. Green Cards and U.S. Visas
- F1 Green Card – Must be a child of U.S. citizen, at least 21 years in age, unmarried.
- F2 Green Card – Must be a spouse or child of a U.S. permanent resident.
- F3 Green Card – Must be a child of a U.S. citizen, married.
- F4 Green Card – Must be a brother or sister of a U.S. citizen.
- K1 Visa – Allows fiancé to stay in the United States for 90 days to marry a U.S. citizen while applying for their green card (permanent residency).
- K2 Visa – Allows children (under the age of 21, unmarried) of K1 fiancé visa holders to stay in the United States while they apply for a green card.
- K3 Visa – Allows a U.S. citizen to sponsor their spouse in the U.S. while they are applying for their green card.
- K4 Visa – Allows children (under the age of 21, unmarried) of K3 visa holder to stay in the United States while they apply for a green card.
- Other Visas – There are many other types of special visas designed to help immigrants enter the United States. We are experienced in helping our clients with J-1 visas, J-2 visas, L-1 visas, L-2 visas, E-2 visas, H-1B visas and H-4 visas, and can assist with all of your immigration needs.
We are Here to Help
Whether you are looking for an immigration lawyer in Cleveland or U.S immigration lawyers in Detroit-Dearborn, Columbus, or Akron-Canton to assist you with your marriage green card, fiancé visa or other family immigration needs, call Herman Legal Group at 1 (800) 808-4013. Herman Legal Group is ready to help you manage the immigration process, reduce the stress, and maximize your opportunity for success. Contact us with marriage immigration questions or family immigration questions today.