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Immigration for Relatives of U.S. Citizens

Immigration Lawyer in Ohio

Countless people around the globe dream of coming to the United States to live and work, hoping to take full advantage of the benefits of life in this country and wanting to live the American dream. Unfortunately for most, the U.S. government places strict limits on the number of people who are legally permitted to this country every year, with annual quotas on the numbers of employment- and family-based immigration. Citizens of the United States, however, are able to help their loved ones immigrate using the immediate relative visa, which is not subject to any yearly cap or quota.

The immediate relative category of immigration visa is divided into five subcategories of relationship to a U.S. citizen. The first is for the spouse (IR-1), followed by unmarried children under 21 years of age (IR-2), orphans adopted abroad (IR-3), orphans to be adopted in the U.S. (IR-4), and parents of a citizen who is a least 21 years of age (IR-5). Stepchildren may be eligible for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status under the IR-2 category, provided that the parental relationship was established before the child reached the age of 18.

Appling for an Immediate Relative Visa

If you are planning to help an immediate relative immigrate, the first step is for you to file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. By filing this form, you will be naming yourself as the sponsor for your loved one. Once your petition is approved, your family member can apply for the visa through consular processing or by filing a Form I-485 for adjustment of status, depending on whether he or she is currently living abroad or is in this country on a non-immigrant visa. Under certain circumstances, the Form I-485 and the sponsorship petition may be filed jointly, such as when the relative is currently living in the U.S., when the immigrant visa number is immediately available, or in the case of a battered spouse who is self-petitioning.

More About Family-Based Visas

The first category of immediate relative visa, the IR-1, only applies in cases of couples who have been married for a minimum of two years. Otherwise, the immigrant spouse will be admitted as a conditional resident rather than as an immediate relative. Once you have been married for the required period, you can petition U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for removal of conditions. This requisite serves to discourage marriages that are not entered into in good faith but are only made with the purpose of securing lawful permanent resident status for the foreign national.

Once your loved one has obtained a green card and LPR status, he or she will have an added safeguard against the possibility of removal. Under the provisions of U.S. immigration law, it is often possible to petition for a waiver of deportation on the grounds that it would cause extreme hardship to you as a citizen or to other family members who also possess LPR status.

Learn more about the Immediate Relative immigration visa category and take the first steps in your case by contacting Robert Brown LLC for a consultation with an Ohio immigration attorney from our team.

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